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Insulin-like growth factor 1 and oestradiol promote cell proliferation of MCF-7 breast cancer cells: new insights into their synergistic effects
  1. J Dupont,
  2. D Le Roith
  1. Clinical Endocrinology Branch, NIDDK, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda MD 20892–1758, USA
  1. Dr LeRoith MD, PhD.Clinical Endocrinology Branch, NIDDK, Room 8D12, Building 10, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892–1758 Derek{at}


In MCF-7 breast cancer cells, the insulin-like growth factor 1 receptor (IGF-1R) and the oestrogen receptor (ER) are coexpressed and the two signalling systems are engaged in a crosstalk that results in synergistic growth. However, coupling between the signalling cascades is poorly understood. Oestradiol enhances IGF-1R signalling by inducing the expression of insulin receptor substrate 1 (IRS-1), a substrate of the IGF-1R. Oestradiol induced expression of IRS-1 results in enhanced tyrosine phosphorylation of IRS-1 after IGF-1 stimulation, followed by enhanced mitogen activated protein kinase, phosphoinositide 3′ kinase, and Akt activation. Oestradiol can also potentiate the effect of IGF-1 on the expression of cyclin D1 and cyclin E, and on the phosphorylation of the retinoblastoma protein (RB). These effects are greatly diminished in SX13 cells, which exhibit a 50% reduction in IGF-1R expression but few functional IGF-1Rs at the surface. Oestradiol and IGF-1 regulate the expression of two cyclin dependent kinase inhibitors, p21 and p27, differently. Whereas IGF-1 increases p21 expression and reduces p27 expression, oestradiol has no effect on p21. In summary, in MCF-7 cells, oestrogen potentiates the effect of IGF-1 on IGF-1R signalling and its effects on certain cell cycle components.

  • breast cancer
  • oestrogen receptor
  • insulin-like growth factor 1 receptor
  • cell cycle
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