Insulin growth factor-binding protein 2 is a candidate biomarker for PTEN status and PI3K/Akt pathway activation in glioblastoma and prostate cancer
Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
Insulin-Like Growth Factor Binding Protein 2
Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt
PTEN is an important tumor-suppressor gene associated with many cancers. Through expression profiling of glioblastoma tissue samples and prostate cancer xenografts, we identified a molecular signature for loss of the PTEN tumor suppressor in glioblastoma and prostate tumors. The PTEN signature consists of a minimum of nine genes, several of which are involved in various pathways already implicated in tumor formation. Among these signature genes, the most significant was an increase in insulin growth factor-binding protein 2 (IGFBP-2) mRNA. Up-regulation of IGFBP-2 was confirmed at the protein level by Western blot analysis and validated in samples not included in the microarray analysis. The link between IGFBP-2 and PTEN was of particular interest because elevated serum IGFBP-2 levels have been reported in patients with prostate and brain tumors. To further investigate this link, we determined that IGFBP-2 expression is negatively regulated by PTEN and positively regulated by phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) and Akt activation. In addition, Akt-driven transformation is impaired in IGFBP2(-/-) mouse embryo fibroblasts, implicating a functional role for IGFBP-2 in PTEN signaling. Collectively, these studies establish that PTEN and IGFBP-2 expression are inversely correlated in human brain and prostate cancers and implicate serum IGFBP-2 levels as a potential serum biomarker of PTEN status and PI3K Akt pathway activation in cancer patients.