A Novel Mechanism of PPAR Gamma Induction via EGFR Signalling Constitutes Rational for Combination Therapy in Bladder Cancer
Mansure JJ, Nassim R, Chevalier S, Szymanski K, Rocha J, Aldousari S, Kassouf W. PLoS One. 2013;8(2):e55997. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0055997. Epub 2013 Feb 8.


McGill Urologic Oncology Research, Division of Urology, McGill University Health Center, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.



Two signalling molecules that are attractive for targeted therapy are the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARγ). We investigated possible crosstalk between these 2 pathways, particularly in light of the recent evidence implicating PPARγ for anticancer therapy.


As evaluated by MTT assays, gefitinib (EGFR inhibitor) and DIM-C (PPARγ agonist) inhibited growth of 9 bladder cancer cell lines in a dose-dependent manner but with variable sensitivity. In addition, combination of gefitinib and DIM-C demonstrated maximal inhibition of cell proliferation compared to each drug alone. These findings were confirmed in vivo, where combination therapy maximally inhibited tumor growth in contrast to each treatment alone when compared to control (p<0.04). Induction of PPARγ expression along with nuclear accumulation was observed in response to increasing concentrations of gefitinib via activation of the transcription factor CCAT/enhancer-binding protein-β (CEBP-β). In these cell lines, DIM-C significantly sensitized bladder cancer cell lines that were resistant to EGFR inhibition in a schedule-specific manner.


These results suggest that PPARγ agonist DIM-C can be an excellent alternative to bladder tumors resistant to EGFR inhibition and combination efficacy might be achieved in a schedule-specific manner.