Insulin activates EGFR by stimulating its interaction with IGF-1R in low-EGFR-expressing TNBC cells

  • Shin, Miyoung ;
  • Yang, Eun Gyeong ;
  • Song, Hyun Kyu ;
  • Jeon, Hyesung
  • Received : 2014.07.31
  • Accepted : 2014.10.21
  • Published : 2015.06.30


The expression of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is an important diagnostic marker for triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) cells, which lack three hormonal receptors: estrogen and progesterone receptors as well as epidermal growth factor receptor 2. EGFR transactivation can cause drug resistance in many cancers including TNBC, but the mechanism underlying this phenomenon is poorly defined. Here, we demonstrate that insulin treatment induces EGFR activation by stimulating the interaction of EGFR with insulin-like growth factor receptor 1 (IGF-1R) in the MDA-MB-436 TNBC cell line. These cells express low levels of EGFR, while exhibiting high levels of IGF-1R expression and phosphorylation. Low-EGFRexpressing MDA-MB-436 cells show high sensitivity to insulinstimulated cell growth. Therefore, unexpectedly, insulin stimulation induced EGFR transactivation by regulating its interaction with IGF-1R in low-EGFR-expressing TNBC cells. [BMB Reports 2015; 48(6): 342-347]


EGFR activation;IGF-1R interaction;Insulin;MDA-MB-436;Triple-negative breast cancer cells


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