Insulin-like growth factor 1 receptor antibody induces rhabdomyosarcoma cell death via a process involving AKT and Bcl-x L

L. H. Mayeenuddin, Y. Yu, Z. Kang, L. J. Helman, L. Cao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Insulin-like growth factors (IGFs) and their receptor, IGF-1 receptor (IGF1R), have important roles in growth, development, stress response, aging and cancer. There are many agents that inhibit IGF1R in oncology clinical development, and in some cases, they have been associated with rapid tumor regression. However, it is not clear by which process these targeted agents induce cancer cell death and how to predict such tumor responses. Here, we showed that IGF1R antibody led to rapid cell death and tumor regression in some rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) cells. Mechanistic analysis revealed a rapid onset of mitochondrial-dependent apoptosis, including mitochondrial depolarization, cytochrome C release and the activation of specific caspases. The antibody sensitive cells had greater dependence on AKT for maintaining downstream signaling and the expression of a constitutively active AKT, which restored AKT-signaling in these cells, inhibited anti-IGF1R induced cell death. Further analysis showed IGF1R antibody-induced hypophosphorylation of BAD and activation of downstream BAX. Interestingly, the examination of RMS cell lines and tumors revealed an inverse correlation between elevated IGF1R and Bcl-2 level (P0.033), with the sensitive cells lacking Bcl-2 expression. The overexpression of BAD specific target, Bcl-x L, conferred resistance, whereas Bcl-x L knockdown sensitized cells lacking Bcl-2 to anti-IGF1R-induced cell death. We propose that RMS pathogenesis involves increased IGF1R expression that enhances AKT and Bcl-x L-mediated cell survival, and the blockage of IGF1R results in inhibition of survival signal from Bcl-x L and cell death in the sensitive Bcl-2 negative cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6367-6377
Number of pages11
Issue number48
StatePublished - Dec 2 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Bcl-2
  • Bcl-xL
  • IGF1R therapeutic antibody
  • apoptosis
  • predictive biomarker
  • tumor regression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Cancer Research


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