Antiestrogen resistance in estrogen receptor positive (ER+) breast cancer is associated with increased expression and activity of insulin-like growth factor 1 receptor (IGF1R). Here, a kinome siRNA screen has identified 10 regulators of IGF1R-mediated antiestrogen with clinical significance. These include the tamoxifen resistance suppressors BMPR1B, CDK10, CDK5, EIF2AK1, and MAP2K5, and the tamoxifen resistance inducers CHEK1, PAK2, RPS6KC1, TTK, and TXK. The p21-activated kinase 2, PAK2, is the strongest resistance inducer. Silencing of the tamoxifen resistance inducing genes, particularly PAK2, attenuates IGF1R-mediated resistance to tamoxifen and fulvestrant. High expression of PAK2 in ER+ metastatic breast cancer patients is correlated with unfavorable outcome after first-line tamoxifen monotherapy. Phospho-proteomics has defined PAK2 and the PAK-interacting exchange factors PIXα/β as downstream targets of IGF1R signaling, which are independent from PI3K/ATK and MAPK/ERK pathways. PAK2 and PIXα/β modulate IGF1R signaling-driven cell scattering. Targeting PIXα/β entirely mimics the effect of PAK2 silencing on antiestrogen re-sensitization. These data indicate PAK2/PIX as an effector pathway in IGF1R-mediated antiestrogen resistance.

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Journal Oncogene: including Oncogene Reviews
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Zhang, Y. (Yinghui), Wester, L. (Lynn), He, J. (Jichao), Geiger, T. (Tamar), Moerkens, M. (Marja), Siddappa, R. (Ram), … Van de Water, B. (2018). IGF1R signaling drives antiestrogen resistance through PAK2/PIX activation in luminal breast cancer. Oncogene: including Oncogene Reviews, 1–16. doi:10.1038/s41388-017-0027-9