DiFi human colon carcinoma cells are stimulated by the transforming growth factor-alpha (TGF-alpha)/epidermal growth factor (EGF) receptor autocrine loop. Exposure of DiFi cells to monoclonal antibody (mAb) 225, which blocks ligand-induced activation of the EGF receptor, induces G1 arrest and subsequent cell death via apoptosis. We investigated the signal pathways by which basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) and insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) modulate mAb 225-induced G1 arrest and apoptosis in DiFi cells. Both bFGF and IGF-1 activated the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) kinase (MEK) pathway in DiFi cells. Additionally, IGF-1 activated the phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI-3K)/Akt pathway. Both bFGF and IGF-1 inhibited mAb 225-induced apoptosis; however, bFGF provided sustained protection against apoptosis, while the protection by IGF-1 was only temporary. Also, bFGF reversed the mAb 225-induced increase in the p27(Kip1) level, inhibition of cyclin-dependent kinase-2 (CDK-2) activity, dephosphorylation of the retinoblastoma (Rb) protein and the resultant G1 arrest of the cells. In contrast, IGF-1 did not reverse such effects by mAb 225. The prevention of mAb 225-induced G1 arrest and apoptosis in DiFi cells by bFGF was sensitive to the MEK/MAPK inhibitor PD98059 but not to the PI-3K inhibitor LY294002. In contrast, inhibition of apoptosis by IGF-1 in DiFi cells was sensitive only to LY294002 and not to PD98059. These results further our understanding of how mAb 225 induces apoptosis in DiFi cells.