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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Mammary tumors that become independent of the type I insulin-like growth factor receptor express elevated levels of platelet-derived growth factor receptors

Craig I Campbell and Roger A Moorehead*

Author Affiliations

Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Guelph, 50 Stone Rd. E, N1G2W1 Guelph, ON, Canada

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BMC Cancer 2011, 11:480  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-11-480

Published: 9 November 2011

Abstract

Background

Targeted therapies are becoming an essential part of breast cancer treatment and agents targeting the type I insulin-like growth factor receptor (IGF-IR) are currently being investigated in clinical trials. One of the limitations of targeted therapies is the development of resistant variants and these variants typically present with unique gene expression patterns and characteristics compared to the original tumor.

Results

MTB-IGFIR transgenic mice, with inducible overexpression of the IGF-IR were used to model mammary tumors that develop resistance to IGF-IR targeting agents. IGF-IR independent mammary tumors, previously shown to possess characteristics associated with EMT, were found to express elevated levels of PDGFRα and PDGFRβ. Furthermore, these receptors were shown to be inversely expressed with the IGF-IR in this model. Using cell lines derived from IGF-IR-independent mammary tumors (from MTB-IGFIR mice), it was demonstrated that PDGFRα and to a lesser extent PDGFRβ was important for cell migration and invasion as RNAi knockdown of PDGFRα alone or PDGFRα and PDGFRβ in combination, significantly decreased tumor cell migration in Boyden chamber assays and suppressed cell migration in scratch wound assays. Somewhat surprisingly, concomitant knockdown of PDGFRα and PDGFRβ resulted in a modest increase in cell proliferation and a decrease in apoptosis.

Conclusion

During IGF-IR independence, PDGFRs are upregulated and function to enhance tumor cell motility. These results demonstrate a novel interaction between the IGF-IR and PDGFRs and highlight an important, therapeutically relevant pathway, for tumor cell migration and invasion.

Keywords:
IGF-IR; PDGFR; Breast cancer; Migration; Resistance