Pharmacological inhibition of Ras-transformed epithelial cell growth is linked to down-regulation of epidermal growth factor-related peptides

Gastroenterology. 1999 Sep;117(3):567-76. doi: 10.1016/s0016-5085(99)70449-x.


Background & aims: Posttranslational farnesylation is required for Ras activation. Farnesyl transferase inhibitors (FTIs) selectively block protein farnesylation and reduce the growth of many Ras-transformed cells in vitro and in vivo. Activated Ras transforms rat intestinal epithelial (RIE-1) cells by a mechanism distinct from NIH 3T3 fibroblasts in that an epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) autocrine loop contributes significantly to the Ras-transformed RIE-1 phenotype.

Methods: The ability of FTIs to block growth of Ras-transformed RIE-1 cells was evaluated, and these results were correlated with decreased EGFR ligand production.

Results: FTI L744,832 caused a selective, dose-dependent, reversible blockade in proliferation of H-Ras-transformed RIE-1 cells, whereas control cell lines, K-Ras-transformed cells, and activated raf-transfected RIE cells were unaffected. The growth-inhibitory effects of L744,832 correlated with loss of farnesylated H-Ras protein and a marked reduction in transforming growth factor (TGF)-alpha and amphiregulin expression. Inhibition of proliferation of H-Ras RIE-1 cells by L744,832 was overcome by exogenous TGF-alpha, and enhanced growth inhibition was achieved by EGFR blockade in combination with L744,832. +

Conclusions: These data suggest that one mechanism by which FTIs inhibit growth of H-Ras-transformed epithelial cells is by reducing Ras-induced EGFR ligand production.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Division / drug effects*
  • Cell Line, Transformed
  • Down-Regulation / drug effects*
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • ErbB Receptors / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Intestinal Mucosa / cytology
  • Ligands
  • Protein Prenylation / drug effects*
  • Rats
  • ras Proteins / metabolism*


  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Ligands
  • ErbB Receptors
  • ras Proteins