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PURPOSE: Expression of the type 1 insulin-like growth factor receptor (IGF1R) confers adverse prognosis in clear cell renal cell cancer (CC-RCC). We recently showed that IGF1R expression is inhibited by the von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) tumor suppressor, and the IGF1R is up-regulated in CC-RCC, in which VHL is frequently inactivated. We tested the hypothesis that IGF1R up-regulation mediates resistance to cancer therapeutics, evaluating the effects of IGF1R depletion on sensitivity to cytotoxic drugs, which are ineffective in RCC, and the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) inhibitor rapamycin, analogues of which have clinical activity in this tumor. EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: This study used CC-RCC cells harboring mutant VHL, and isogenic cells expressing functional VHL. Cells were transfected with nonsilencing control small interfering RNA (siRNA), or with one of two different IGF1R siRNAs. The more potent siRNA was modified by 2'-O-methyl derivatization for in vivo administration. RESULTS: CC-RCC cells expressing mutant VHL and higher IGF1R were more chemoresistant than cells expressing functional VHL. IGF1R depletion induced apoptosis, blocked cell survival, and sensitized to 5-fluorouracil and etoposide. These effects were significantly greater in CC-RCC cells expressing mutant VHL, supporting the hypothesis that IGF1R up-regulation makes a major contribution to the chemoresistance associated with VHL loss. IGF1R depletion also enhanced sensitivity to mTOR inhibition, at least in part due to suppression of rapamycin-induced Akt activation. Administration of stabilized IGF1R siRNA was shown to sensitize CC-RCC xenografts to rapamycin in vivo. CONCLUSION: These data validate IGF1R as a therapeutic target in CC-RCC, and support the evaluation of IGF1R-inhibitory drugs in patients with renal cancer.

Original publication




Journal article


Mol Cancer Ther

Publication Date





1448 - 1459


Animals, Antineoplastic Agents, Apoptosis, Carcinoma, Renal Cell, Cell Line, Tumor, Cell Survival, Cisplatin, Dose-Response Relationship, Drug, Etoposide, Female, Fluorouracil, Humans, Hypoxia-Inducible Factor 1, alpha Subunit, Immunoblotting, Kidney Neoplasms, Mice, Mice, Inbred BALB C, Mice, SCID, RNA, Small Interfering, Receptor, IGF Type 1, Sirolimus, Transfection, Von Hippel-Lindau Tumor Suppressor Protein, Xenograft Model Antitumor Assays