Back to Journals » Biologics: Targets and Therapy » Volume 12

Combined treatment with metformin and gefitinib overcomes primary resistance to EGFR-TKIs with EGFR mutation via targeting IGF-1R signaling pathway

Authors Pan YH, Jiao L, Lin CY, Lu CH, Li L, Chen HY, Wang YB, He Y

Received 28 February 2018

Accepted for publication 20 May 2018

Published 20 August 2018 Volume 2018:12 Pages 75—86

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/BTT.S166867

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Amy Norman

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Dr Doris Benbrook


Yong-hong Pan, Lin Jiao, Cai-yu Lin, Cong-hua Lu, Li Li, Heng-yi Chen, Yu-bo Wang, Yong He

Department of Respiratory Disease, Daping Hospital, Third Military Medical University, Chongqing 400042, China

Aim: Although EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) have shown dramatic effects against sensitizing EGFR mutations in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), ~20%–30% of NSCLC patients with EGFR-sensitive mutation exhibit intrinsic resistance to EGFR-TKIs. The purpose of the current study was to investigate the enhanced antitumor effect of metformin (Met), a biguanide drug, in combination with gefitinib (Gef) in primary resistant human lung cancer cells and the associated molecular mechanism.
Experimental design: H1975 cell line was treated with Met and/or Gef to examine the inhibition of cell growth and potential mechanism of action by using 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT), Ki67 incorporation assay, flow cytometry analysis, small interfering RNA technology, Western blot analysis and xenograft implantation.
Results: Insulin-like growth factor-1 receptor (IGF-1R) signaling pathway was markedly activated in EGFR-TKI primary resistant H1975 cells as compared to EGFR-TKI acquired resistance cells (PC-9GR, H1650-M3) and EGFR-TKI sensitivity cells (PC-9, HCC827). Inhibition of IGF-1R activity by AG-1024 (a small molecule of IGF-1R inhibitor), as well as downregulation of IGF-1R by siRNA, significantly enhanced the ability of Gef to suppress proliferation and induce apoptosis in H1975 cells via the inhibition of AKT activation and subsequent upregulation of Bcl-2-interacting mediator of cell death (BIM). Interestingly, the observation showed that Met combined with Gef treatment had similar tumor growth suppression effects in comparison with the addition of AG-1024 to therapy with Gef. A clear synergistic antiproliferative interaction between Met and Gef was observed with a combination index (CI) value of 0.65. Notably, IGF-1R silencing mediated by RNA interference (RNAi) attenuated anticancer effects of Met without obviously resensitizing H1975 cells to Gef. Finally, Met-based combinatorial therapy effectively blocked tumor growth in the xenograft with TKI primary resistant lung cancer cells.
Conclusion: Our findings demonstrated that Met combined with Gef would be a promising strategy to overcome EGFR-TKI primary resistance via suppressing IGF-1R signaling pathway in NSCLC.

Keywords: metformin, gefitinib, IGF-1R, primary resistance, lung cancer

Creative Commons License This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution - Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License. By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms.

Download Article [PDF]  View Full Text [HTML][Machine readable]