Mechanism of Metformin-dependent Inhibition of Mammalian Target of Rapamycin (mTOR) and Ras Activity in Pancreatic Cancer Role of specificity protein (Sp) Transcription Factors*
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The antidiabetic drug metformin exhibits both chemopreventive and chemotherapeutic activity for multiple cancers including pancreatic cancer; however, the underlying mechanism of action of metformin is unclear. A recent study showed that metformin down-regulated specificity protein (Sp) transcription factors (TFs) Sp1, Sp3, and Sp4 in pancreatic cancer cells and tumors, and this was accompanied by down-regulation of several pro-oncogenic Sp-regulated genes. Treatment with metformin or down-regulation of Sp TFs by RNAi also inhibits two major pro-oncogenic pathways in pancreatic cancer cells, namely mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling and epidermal growth factor (EGFR)-dependent activation of Ras. Metformin and Sp knockdown by RNAi decreased expression of the insulin-like growth factor-1 receptor (IGF-1R), resulting in inhibition of mTOR signaling. Ras activity was also decreased by metformin and Sp knockdown of EGFR, another Sp-regulated gene. Thus, the antineoplastic activities of metformin in pancreatic cancer are due, in part, to down-regulation of Sp TFs and Sp-regulated IGF-1R and EGFR, which in turn results in inhibition of mTOR and Ras signaling, respectively.
author list (cited authors)
Nair, V., Sreevalsan, S., Basha, R., Abdelrahim, M., Abudayyeh, A., Rodrigues Hoffman, A., & Safe, S.