Tamoxifen is a common adjuvant treatment for estrogen receptor (ER)α-positive patients with breast cancer; however, acquired resistance abrogates the efficacy of this therapeutic approach. We recently demonstrated that G protein–coupled estrogen receptor 1 (GPER1) mediates tamoxifen action in breast cancer cells by inducing insulin-like growth factor–binding protein-1 (IGFBP-1) to inhibit IGF-1–dependent signaling. To determine whether dysregulation of IGFBP-1 induction is associated with tamoxifen resistance, IGFBP-1 transcription was measured in tamoxifen-resistant MCF-7 cells (TamR) after tamoxifen (Tam) treatment. IGFBP-1 transcription was not stimulated in tamoxifen-treated TamR cells whereas decreased expression of FoxO1, a known modulator of IGFBP-1, was observed. Exogenous expression of FoxO1 rescued the ability of tamoxifen to induce IGFBP-1 transcription in TamR cells. As decreased IGF-1R expression is observed in tamoxifen-resistant cells, the requirement for IGF-1R expression on tamoxifen-stimulated IGFBP-1 transcription was investigated. In TamR and SK-BR-3 cells, both characterized by low IGF-1R levels, exogenous IGF-1R expression increased FoxO1 levels and IGFBP-1 expression, whereas IGF-1R knockdown in MCF-7 cells decreased tamoxifen-stimulated IGFBP-1 transcription. Interestingly, both 17β-estradiol (E2)-stimulated ERα phosphorylation and progesterone receptor (PR) expression were altered in TamR. PR is a transcription factor known to modulate FoxO1 transcription. In addition, IGF-1R knockdown decreased FoxO1 protein levels in MCF-7 cells. Furthermore, IGF-1R or FoxO1 knockdown inhibited the ability of tamoxifen to induce IGFBP-1 transcription and tamoxifen sensitivity in MCF-7 cells. These data provide a molecular mechanistic connection between IGF-1R expression and the FoxO1-mediated mechanism of tamoxifen action in breast cancer cells.
Implications: Loss of IGF-1R expression is associated with decreased tamoxifen efficacy in patients with breast cancer and the development of tamoxifen resistance. This contribution identifies potential molecular mechanisms of altered tamoxifen sensitivity in breast cancer cells resulting from decreased IGF-1R expression. Mol Cancer Res; 1–9. ©2017 AACR.
Note: Supplementary data for this article are available at Molecular Cancer Research Online (http://mcr.aacrjournals.org/).
- Received May 17, 2016.
- Revision received December 2, 2016.
- Accepted December 21, 2016.
- ©2017 American Association for Cancer Research.