Identification of IGF2 signaling through phosphoinositide-3-kinase regulatory subunit 3 as a growth-promoting axis in glioblastoma

Liliana Soroceanu, Samir Kharbanda, Ruihuan Chen, Robert H. Soriano, Ken Aldape, Anjan Misra, Jiping Zha, William F. Forrest, Janice M. Nigro, Zora Modrusan, Burt G. Feuerstein, Heidi S. Phillips

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

97 Scopus citations


Amplification or overexpression of growth factor receptors is a frequent occurrence in malignant gliomas. Using both expression profiling and in situ hybridization, we identified insulin-like growth factor 2 (IGF2) as a marker for a subset of glioblastomas (GBMs) that lack amplification or overexpression of EGF receptor. Among 165 primary high-grade astrocytomas, 13% of grade IV tumors and 2% of grade III tumors expressed IGF2 mRNA levels >50-fold the sample population median. IGF2-overexpressing tumors frequently displayed PTEN loss, were highly proliferative, exhibited strong staining for phospho-Akt, and belonged to a subclass of GBMs characterized by poor survival. Using a serum-free culture system, we discovered that IGF2 can substitute for EGF to support the growth of GBM-derived neurospheres. The growth-promoting effects of IGF2 were mediated by the insulin-like growth factor receptor 1 and phosphoinositide-3-kinase regulatory subunit 3 (PIK3R3), a regulatory subunit of phosphoinositide 3-kinase that shows genomic gains in some highly proliferative GBM cases. PIK3R3 knockdown inhibited IGF2-induced growth of GBM-derived neurospheres. The current results provide evidence that the IGF2-PIK3R3 signaling axis is involved in promoting the growth of a subclass of highly aggressive human GBMs that lack EGF receptor amplification. Our data underscore the importance of the phosphoinositide 3-kinase/Akt pathway for growth of high-grade gliomas and suggest that multiple molecular alterations that activate this signaling cascade may promote tumorigenesis. Further, these findings highlight the parallels between growth factors or receptors that are overexpressed in GBMs and those that support in vitro growth of tumor-derived stem-like cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3466-3471
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number9
StatePublished - Feb 27 2007


  • Astrocytoma
  • Brain tumor
  • Expression profiling
  • Glioma
  • Gliomagenesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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