IGF and mTOR pathway expression and in vitro effects of linsitinib and mTOR inhibitors in adrenocortical cancer

Maria Cristina De Martino, Peter M. van Koetsveld, Richard A. Feelders, Wouter W. de Herder, Fadime Dogan, Joseph A.M.J.L. Janssen, Davine Hofste op Bruinink, Claudia Pivonello, A. Marlijn Waaijers, Annamaria Colao, Ronald R. de Krijger, Rosario Pivonello, Leo J. Hofland*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The IGF and mTOR-pathways are considered as potential targets for therapy in patients with adrenocortical carcinoma (ACC). This study aims to describe the IGF pathway in ACC and to explore the response to the combined treatment with the IGF1R/IR inhibitor linsitinib, and mTOR inhibitors (sirolimus and everolimus) in in vitro models of ACC. Methods: The protein expression level of IGF2, IGF1R and IGF2R was evaluated by immunohistochemistry in 17 human ACCs and the mRNA expression level of IGF1, IGF2, IGF1R, IR isoforms A and B, IGF2R, IGF-Binding-Proteins[IGFBP]-1, 2, 3 and 6 was evaluated by RT-qPCR in 12 samples. In H295R and HAC15 ACC cell lines the combined effects of linsitinib and sirolimus or everolimus on cell survival were evaluated. Results: A high protein expression of IGF2, IGF1R and IGF2R was observed in 82, 65 and 100% of samples, respectively. A high relative expression of IGF2 mRNA was found in the majority of samples. The mRNA levels of the IRA were higher than that of IRB and IGF1R in the majority of samples (75%). Linsitinib inhibits cell growth in the H295R and HAC15 cell lines and, combined with sirolimus or everolimus, linsitinib showed a significant additive effect. Conclusions: In addition to IGF2 and IGF1R, ACC express IGF2R, IRA and several IGFBPs, suggesting that the interplay between the different components of the IGF pathway in ACC could be more complex than previously considered. The addition of mTOR inhibitors to linsitinib may have stronger antiproliferative effects than linsitinib alone.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)673-684
Number of pages12
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 2019


  • Adrenal
  • Adrenocortical cancer
  • IGF
  • Insulin receptor
  • Linsitinib


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