The effects of insulin-like growth factors on tumorigenesis and neoplastic growth

Endocr Rev. 2000 Jun;21(3):215-44. doi: 10.1210/edrv.21.3.0399.


Several decades of basic and clinical research have demonstrated that there is an association between the insulin-like growth factors (IGFs) and neoplasia. We begin with a brief discussion of the function and regulation of expression of the IGFs, their receptors and the IGF-binding proteins (IGFBPs). A number of investigational interventional strategies targeting the GH or IGFs are then reviewed. Finally, we have assembled the available scientific knowledge about this relationship for each of the major tumor types. The tumors have been grouped together by organ system and for each of the major tumors, various key elements of the relationship between IGFs and tumor growth are discussed. Specifically these include the presence or absence of autocrine IGF-I and IGF-II production; presence or absence of IGF-I and IGF-II receptor expression; the expression and functions of the IGFBPs; in vitro and in vivo experiments involving therapeutic interventions; and available results from clinical trials evaluating the effect of GH/IGF axis down-regulation in various malignancies.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Central Nervous System Neoplasms
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Neoplasms
  • Gene Expression
  • Genital Neoplasms, Female
  • Genital Neoplasms, Male
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms
  • Male
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Neoplasms / genetics
  • Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Receptors, Somatomedin / genetics
  • Receptors, Somatomedin / physiology
  • Somatomedins / genetics
  • Somatomedins / physiology*


  • Receptors, Somatomedin
  • Somatomedins