Cyclolignans as inhibitors of the insulin-like growth factor-1 receptor and malignant cell growth.

Article Details


Girnita A, Girnita L, del Prete F, Bartolazzi A, Larsson O, Axelson M

Cyclolignans as inhibitors of the insulin-like growth factor-1 receptor and malignant cell growth.

Cancer Res. 2004 Jan 1;64(1):236-42.

PubMed ID
14729630 [ View in PubMed

The insulin-like growth factor-1 receptor (IGF-1R) plays a pivotal role in transformation, growth, and survival of malignant cells, and has emerged as a general and promising target for cancer treatment. However, no fully selective IGF-1R inhibitors have thus far been found. This is explained by the fact that IGF-1R is highly homologous to the insulin receptor, coinhibition of which may cause diabetic response. The receptors are both tyrosine kinases, and their ATP binding sites are identical, implying that ATP inhibitors cannot discriminate between them. Therefore, the current strategy has been to identify compounds interfering with receptor autophosphorylation at the substrate level. In this study we investigated the effects of cyclolignans and related molecules on IGF-1R activity. We report that certain cyclolignans are potent and selective inhibitors of tyrosine phosphorylation of the IGF-1R. Of particular interest was picropodophyllin (PPP), which is almost nontoxic (LD(50) >500 mg/kg in rodents). PPP efficiently blocked IGF-1R activity, reduced pAkt and phosphorylated extracellular signal regulated kinase 1 and 2 (pErk1/2), induced apoptosis in cultured IGF-1R-positive tumor cells, and caused complete tumor regression in xenografted and allografted mice. PPP did not affect the insulin receptor or compete with ATP in an in vitro kinase assay, suggesting that it may inhibit IGF-1R autophosphorylation at the substrate level. This is also in agreement with our molecular model of how the cyclolignans may act on the IGF-1R kinase. Our results open the possibility to use PPP or related compounds with inhibitory effects on IGF-1R as lead compounds in development of anticancer agents.

DrugBank Data that Cites this Article

NameUniProt ID
Insulin-like growth factor 1 receptorP08069Details