The 5-year survival rate for women with metastatic breast cancer is only 25–30%; thus, the need to improve treatment is apparent. Overexpression of insulin-like growth factor-I receptor (IGF-IR) correlates with poor prognosis and local recurrence. In this study, we addressed whether functional impairment of IGF-IR affects adhesion, invasion, and metastasis of breast cancer. Impairment of IGF-IR function was achieved by transfecting a dominant negative form of the receptor, termed 486stop, into MDA-MB-435 metastatic breast cancer cells. The protein product of 486stop is secreted extracellularly, resulting in a bystander effect. Cellular adhesion to laminin and collagen was inhibited 94 and 88%, respectively. Furthermore, 486stop inhibited insulin-like growth factor-I-stimulated invasion through collagen IV by 75%. The dominant negative receptor was secreted, as evidenced by the observation that MDA-MB-435 and MDA-MB-231 cells were prevented from binding to laminin by 90% when treated with conditioned medium (CM) from 486stop-transfected cells. CM also inhibited the invasion of MDA-MB-231 cells across collagen IV by 80%. Finally, CM made MDA-MB-231 cells 30% more sensitive to Taxol®-induced cell death. Growth in soft agar was suppressed by 486stop, but growth in monolayer was unaffected. When injected into the mammary fat pad, 486stop did not significantly suppress growth of the primary tumor, but metastasis to the lungs, livers, lymph nodes, and lymph vessels was significantly decreased compared to the vector control. In conclusion, inhibition of IGF-IR resulted in suppression of adhesion, invasion, and metastasis, providing a mechanistic rationale for targeting IGF-IR in the treatment of metastatic breast cancer.


This work was supported in part by NIH Grant POICA56309 (to R. B.).

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