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Cancer stem-like cells (CSLC) are crucial in tumor initiation and progression; however, the underlying mechanism for the self-renewal of cancer cells remains undefined. In the study, immunohistochemical analysis of specimens freshly excised from patients with lung adenocarcinoma showed that high expression of insulin-like growth factor I receptor (IGF-IR) in lung adenocarcinoma cells was positively correlated with the expressions of cancer stem cell markers CD133 and aldehyde dehydrogenase 1 family member A1 (ALDH1A1). IGF-IR activation enhanced POU class 5 homeobox 1 (POU5F1) expression on human lung adenocarcinoma stem-like cells (LACSLC) through PI3K/AKT/GSK3β/β-catenin cascade. POU5F1 could form a novel complex with β-catenin and SOX2 to bind Nanog promoter for transcription to maintain self-renewal of LACSLCs, which was dependent on the functional IGF-IR. Genetic and pharmacologic inhibition of IGF-IR abrogated LACSLC capabilities for self-renewal and tumorigenicity in vitro. In an in vivo xenograft tumor model, knockdown of either IGF-IR or POU5F1 impeded tumorigenic potentials of LACSLCs. By analyzing pathologic specimens excised from 200 patients with lung adenocarcinoma, we found that colocalization of highly expressed IGF-IR with β-catenin and POU5F1 predicted poor prognosis. Taken together, we show that IGF-IR-mediated POU5F1 expression to form a complex with β-catenin and SOX2 is crucial for the self-renewal and oncogenic potentials of LACSLCs, and the integrative clinical detection of the expressions of IGF-IR, β-catenin, and POU5F1 is indicatory for predicting prognosis in the patients of lung adenocarcinoma. ©2013 AACR.


Chuan Xu, Dan Xie, Shi-Cang Yu, Xiao-Jun Yang, Li-Ru He, Jing Yang, Yi-Fang Ping, Bin Wang, Lang Yang, Sen-Lin Xu, Wei Cui, Qing-Liang Wang, Wen-Juan Fu, Qing Liu, Cheng Qian, You-Hong Cui, Jeremy N Rich, Hsiang-Fu Kung, Xia Zhang, Xiu-Wu Bian. β-Catenin/POU5F1/SOX2 transcription factor complex mediates IGF-I receptor signaling and predicts poor prognosis in lung adenocarcinoma. Cancer research. 2013 May 15;73(10):3181-9

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PMID: 23539445

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