Treatment of human breast cancer cells with antisense RNA to the type I insulin-like growth factor receptor inhibits cell growth, suppresses tumorigenesis, alters the metastatic potential, and prolongs survival in vivo

Cancer Gene Ther. 2000 Mar;7(3):384-95. doi: 10.1038/sj.cgt.7700126.


The type I insulin-like growth factor receptor (IGF-IR) plays an important role in the growth and transformation of breast cancer cells. In this study, we investigated the effects of treatment with an antisense IGF-IR construct on cells from the highly metastatic estrogen receptor-negative human breast cancer cell line MDA-MB-435s. The cells carrying the antisense IGF-IR had a markedly reduced expression of IGF-IR, had a significant decrease in cell proliferation, and lost the ability to form colonies in soft agar. There was a delay in tumor formation and a dramatic reduction in tumor size when cells carrying the antisense IGF-IR were injected into either nude or severe combined immunodeficient (scid) beige mice. We have also provided data that show that the scid beige mouse is a more suitable model for studying metastasis of the MDA-MB-435s cells. All of the scid beige mice injected with cells carrying the control construct had metastasis to the lungs, whereas lungs from the nude mice had no apparent metastatic sites after 11 weeks. When cells carrying antisense IGF-IR were injected subcutaneously in scid beige mice, the animals had a significant increase in survival compared with mice injected with cells carrying the control construct. Taken together, these results indicate that the IGF-IR can play a critical role in the progression of breast cancer. Our studies provide a basis for the development of future treatment strategies targeting the IGF-IR in metastatic breast cancer.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Breast Neoplasms / mortality
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Breast Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Carcinoma, Ductal, Breast / mortality
  • Carcinoma, Ductal, Breast / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Ductal, Breast / secondary*
  • Carcinoma, Ductal, Breast / therapy*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Nude
  • Mice, SCID
  • RNA, Antisense / genetics
  • RNA, Antisense / therapeutic use*
  • Receptor, IGF Type 1 / genetics*
  • Receptor, IGF Type 1 / therapeutic use*
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • RNA, Antisense
  • Receptor, IGF Type 1