Overexpression of the Insulin-Like Growth Factor I Receptor and Activation of the AKT Pathway in Hyperplastic Endometrium
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PURPOSE: Although there is considerable information on the molecular aberrations associated with endometrial cancer, very little is known of the changes in gene expression associated with endometrial hyperplasia. EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: To address this, we have compared the level of expression of estrogen-regulated genes and components of the insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) signaling pathway in endometrial biopsies from subjects with normal endometrium, complex atypical endometrial hyperplasia, and endometrial adenocarcinoma (type I). RESULTS: There was a significant increase in the expression of the IGF-I receptor (IGF-IR) in biopsies from hyperplastic endometrium and endometrial carcinoma compared with the proliferative endometrium. The receptor was also activated, as judged by increased tyrosine phosphorylation. In addition, in endometrial hyperplasia and carcinoma, the downstream components of the IGF-IR pathway are activated, as reflected in increased Akt phosphorylation. Loss of phosphatase and tensin homologue deleted on chromosome 10 (PTEN) expression in endometrial hyperplasia did not correlate with increased activation of IGF-IR. However, the simultaneous loss of PTEN expression and increased IGF-IR activation in hyperplasia was associated with an increased incidence of endometrial carcinoma. CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that up-regulation of IGF-IR and loss of PTEN may be independent events that give rise to complementary activation of the IGF-I pathway and increase the probability of the development of cancer. These studies suggest that increased expression of IGF-IR may be an important contributor to the risk of endometrial hyperplasia and cancer.
author list (cited authors)
McCampbell, A. S., Broaddus, R. R., Loose, D. S., & Davies, P.