The insulin-like growth factors (IGFs), insulin-like growth factor binding proteins (IGFBPs), and the IGFBP proteases are involved in the regulation of somatic growth and cellular proliferation both in vivo and in vitro. IGFs are potent mitogenic agents whose actions are determined by the availability of free IGFs to interact with the IGF receptors. IGFBPs comprise a family of proteins that bind IGFs with high affinity and specificity and thereby regulate IGF-dependent actions. IGFBPs have recently emerged as IGF-independent regulators of cell growth. Various IGFBP association proteins as well as cleavage of IGFBPs by specific proteases modulate levels of free IGFs and IGFBPs. The ubiquity and complexity of the IGF axis promise exciting discoveries and applications for the future.