The insulin receptor mediates a proliferative response in certain transformed cells, but little is known about its function in ovarian cancer. We used human epithelial ovarian carcinoma cell lines and lifespan-extended normal ovarian surface epithelial (OSE) cells to examine 125I-insulin binding and mitogenic responses to insulin. All cancer cell and OSE cultures specifically bound 125I-insulin. Except for OV202, the carcinoma lines had elevated insulin binding compared with OSE cells. All carcinoma lines except OV202 expressed insulin receptor as detected by flow cytometry and increased 3Hthymidine incorporation or cell number in response to 0.1-10 nM insulin. Interestingly, similar concentrations of IGF-II also induced proliferation of the insulin-responsive cancer cell lines and displaced 125I-insulin binding. Direct binding of 125I-IGF-II to the insulin receptor was visualized by cross-linking and immunoprecipitation. Binding of IGF-II to the insulin receptor and a proliferative effect of insulin suggest the presence of insulin receptor isoform A. Real-time PCR analyses confirm that insulin receptor isoform A expression predominates over isoform B expression in the ovarian carcinoma cell lines. This report suggests that the insulin receptor may play a role in the regulation of ovarian cancer cell growth.
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