KRAS(G12D)- and BRAF(V600E)-induced transformation of murine pancreatic epithelial cells requires MEK/ERK-stimulated IGF1R signaling

UMMS Affiliation

Program in Gene Function and Expression; Program in Molecular Medicine; Department of Cancer Biology

Publication Date


Document Type



Animals; Carcinogenesis; Carcinoma, Pancreatic Ductal; Cell Proliferation; Cell Survival; Disease Models, Animal; Epithelial Cells; Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic; Gene Knockdown Techniques; Humans; MAP Kinase Signaling System; Mice; Mice, Nude; Mice, Transgenic; Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase Kinases; Mutation, Missense; Pancreas; Pancreatic Neoplasms; Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases; Phosphorylation; Proto-Oncogene Proteins B-raf; Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt; Proto-Oncogene Proteins p21(ras); Receptor, IGF Type 1; Recombinant Fusion Proteins


Biochemistry | Cancer Biology | Molecular Biology | Molecular Genetics | Neoplasms


Mutation of KRAS is a common initiating event in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). Yet, the specific roles of KRAS-stimulated signaling pathways in the transformation of pancreatic ductal epithelial cells (PDEC), putative cells of origin for PDAC, remain unclear. Here, we show that KRAS(G12D) and BRAF(V600E) enhance PDEC proliferation and increase survival after exposure to apoptotic stimuli in a manner dependent on MEK/ERK and PI3K/AKT signaling. Interestingly, we find that activation of PI3K/AKT signaling occurs downstream of MAP-ERK kinase (MEK), and is dependent on the autocrine activation of the insulin-like growth factor (IGF) receptor (IGF1R) by IGF2. Importantly, IGF1R inhibition impairs KRAS(G12D)- and BRAF(V600E)-induced survival, whereas ectopic IGF2 expression rescues KRAS(G12D)- and BRAF(V600E)-mediated survival downstream of MEK inhibition. Moreover, we show that KRAS(G12D)- and BRAF(V600E)-induced tumor formation in an orthotopic model requires IGF1R. Interestingly, we show that while individual inhibition of MEK or IGF1R does not sensitize PDAC cells to apoptosis, their concomitant inhibition reduces survival. Our findings identify a novel mechanism of PI3K/AKT activation downstream of activated KRAS, illustrate the importance of MEK/ERK, PI3K/AKT, and IGF1R signaling in pancreatic tumor initiation, and suggest potential therapeutic strategies for this malignancy.

DOI of Published Version



Mol Cancer Res. 2012 Sep;10(9):1228-39. Epub 2012 Aug 7. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Molecular cancer research : MCR

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID