• Lung cancer;
  • Type I insulin-like growth factor receptor;
  • RNA interference


Type I insulin-like growth factor receptor (IGF-IR), which is frequently overexpressed in a variety of human cancers including lung cancer, mediates cancer cell proliferation and tumor growth. In this study, we used a human U6 promoter-driven DNA-template approach to induce hairpin RNA (hpRNA)-triggered RNAi to silence IGF-IR gene expression in the human lung cancer cell line A549, and then evaluate its effects on apoptosis, apoptosis-related gene expression, and the growth of tumor cells in vitro and in nude mice. IGF-IR expression levels were found to markedly decrease in cells transfected with a plasmid expressing hairpin siRNA for IGF-IR (by more than 78.9%). Down-regulation of IGR-IR concomitantly accompanied reduction of bcl-2 as well as pERK and pAkt levels, activation of caspase-3, apoptosis and growth inhibition of A549 cells in vitro. Direct intratumoral injections of plasmid DNA expressing hpRNA for IGF-IR significantly regressed pre-established tumors in nude mice. Our results support the therapeutic potential of RNAi as a method for gene therapy in treating lung cancer.