BACKGROUND & AIMS - Posttranslational farnesylation is required for Ras activation. Farnesyl transferase inhibitors (FTIs) selectively block protein farnesylation and reduce the growth of many Ras-transformed cells in vitro and in vivo. Activated Ras transforms rat intestinal epithelial (RIE-1) cells by a mechanism distinct from NIH 3T3 fibroblasts in that an epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) autocrine loop contributes significantly to the Ras-transformed RIE-1 phenotype.
METHODS - The ability of FTIs to block growth of Ras-transformed RIE-1 cells was evaluated, and these results were correlated with decreased EGFR ligand production.
RESULTS - FTI L744,832 caused a selective, dose-dependent, reversible blockade in proliferation of H-Ras-transformed RIE-1 cells, whereas control cell lines, K-Ras-transformed cells, and activated raf-transfected RIE cells were unaffected. The growth-inhibitory effects of L744,832 correlated with loss of farnesylated H-Ras protein and a marked reduction in transforming growth factor (TGF)-alpha and amphiregulin expression. Inhibition of proliferation of H-Ras RIE-1 cells by L744,832 was overcome by exogenous TGF-alpha, and enhanced growth inhibition was achieved by EGFR blockade in combination with L744,832. +
CONCLUSIONS - These data suggest that one mechanism by which FTIs inhibit growth of H-Ras-transformed epithelial cells is by reducing Ras-induced EGFR ligand production.