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Cancer Res. 2007 Oct 1;67(19):9266-75.

Insulin receptor substrate-1 is an important mediator of ovarian cancer cell growth suppression by all-trans retinoic acid.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Temple University School of Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19140, USA.


There is a need to identify more effective drugs for the treatment of ovarian cancer as it is the leading cause of death among gynecologic tumors. All-trans retinoic acid (ATRA), a natural retinoid, arrests the growth of CA-OV3 ovarian carcinoma cells in G(0)-G(1). Because the insulin-like growth factor-I receptor has been implicated in the proliferation of various tumors, we investigated its potential role in the suppression of ovarian cancer cell growth by ATRA. Our studies revealed that insulin receptor substrate-1 (IRS-1) protein levels decrease in CA-OV3 cells on ATRA treatment, whereas no differences in IRS-1 levels were seen in the ATRA-resistant SK-OV3 cells. Moreover, CA-OV3 clones overexpressing IRS-1 were growth inhibited less by ATRA, whereas SK-OV3 clones in which levels of IRS-1 were reduced by expression of antisense IRS-1 became sensitive to growth inhibition by ATRA treatment. Studies to determine the mechanism by which ATRA reduced IRS-1 expression showed that ATRA altered steady-state levels of IRS-1 mRNA and the stability of IRS-1 protein. Finally, the role of IRS-1 as a potential molecular target of ATRA in ovarian tumors was assessed by immunohistochemistry in an ovarian cancer tissue array. Compared with normal ovary, the majority of malignant epithelial ovarian tumors overexpressed IRS-1. Thus, there seems to be a correlation between IRS-1 expression and malignancy in ovarian tumors. Our results suggest that IRS-1 is in fact an important growth-regulatory molecule that can be a potential effective target for chemotherapeutic intervention with growth-suppressive agents, including retinoids.

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