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Cancer Lett. 2011 Aug 28;307(2):200-10. doi: 10.1016/j.canlet.2011.04.004. Epub 2011 May 4.

Insulin-like growth factor-binding protein-3 suppresses tumor growth via activation of caspase-dependent apoptosis and cross-talk with NF-κB signaling.

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Department of Pathology, Medical College of Virginia Campus, Virginia Commonwealth University, 1101 East Marshall Street, Richmond, VA 23298-0662, USA.


Nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-κB) is constitutively activated in a variety of human cancers including prostate cancer and involved in tumorigenesis, tumor progression and chemo-resistance. Insulin-like growth factor-binding protein-3 (IGFBP-3) is a potent tumor suppressor and is significantly suppressed in a variety of cancers. Diverse biological effects of IGFBP-3 have been reported to be both dependent and independent of the IGF/IGF-I receptor (IGF-IR) axis. The precise underlying mechanisms of IGF/IGF-IR-independent, antiproliferative actions of IGFBP-3 are yet to be elucidated. We found an inverse correlation between NF-κB activity and IGFBP-3 expression during prostate cancer progression using an in vitro prostate cancer progression model. Restoration of IGFBP-3 resulted in significant inhibition of constitutively elevated NF-κB activity in prostate cancer cells. IGFBP-3 further inhibited the expression of NF-κB-regulated angiogenic factors such as VEGF and IL-8, and cell adhesion molecules, ICAM-1 and VCAM-1. This inhibitory action of IGFBP-3 was IGF/IGF-IR-independent since IGFBP-3 mutant devoid of IGF binding affinity had a similar inhibitory effect. We identified that IGFBP-3 degrades the key NF-κB regulatory molecules-IκBα and p65-NF-κB proteins through activation of caspase-8 and -3/-7, thereby inhibiting elevated NF-κB activity in prostate cancer. Finally intratumoral administration of IGFBP-3 resulted in significant tumor suppression as well as sensitization of antitumor effect of doxorubicin. Our findings indicate that IGFBP-3 exerts antitumor effects via IGF-independent mechanisms which involve activation of caspase-dependent apoptosis and cross-talk with NF-κB signaling. The use of IGFBP-3 as a cancer therapeutic with this distinctive suppression mechanism may offer alternate means to treat chemotherapy resistant tumors.

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