Background: Evidence has been accumulating that in many tumors, insulin-like growth factors (IGFs) promote cancer cell growth in an autocrine/paracrine manner via the IGF-I receptor. In an effort to understand the role of IGFs in prostate cancer cell growth, we characterized the IGF system components produced by human prostatic cancer cell-lines, LNCaP, DU145, and PC-3, grown in serum-free medium.
Methods: IGFs, their receptors, and IGF binding proteins (IGFBPs) produced by the three human prostate cell lines were characterized by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), radioimmunoassay (RIA), Western ligand blot, Western immunoblot, and Northern blot analyses.
Results: mRNA for IGF-II and receptors for IGF-I and IGF-II were detected in all three cell-lines by RT-PCR. In contrast to the published study, only LNCaP cells expressed a trace amount of IGF-I mRNA. RIA on conditioned media collected from these cells revealed that all three cell-lines produced measurable IGF-II but not IGF-I. Western Ligand blot, Western immunoblot, and Northern blot analyses revealed that LNCaP, DU145, and PC-3 cells expressed IGFBP-2, IGFBP-2/-3/-4/-6, and IGFBP-2/-3/-4/-5/-6, respectively. IGF-II stimulated [3H]thymidine incorporation into DNA in DU145 and PC-3 cells significantly although the effect was small. DNA synthesis in PC-3 cells but not in LNCaP and DU145 cells was significantly inhibited by the IGF-I receptor-specific monoclonal antibody.
Conclusion: Theses results suggest potentially important roles of IGFs and IGFBPs in prostate cancer cell growth, and that in particular, IGF-II may play a critical role in prostate cancer cell growth.