Congenital fibrosarcoma (CFS) and cellular mesoblastic nephroma (CMN) are pediatric spindle cell malignancies that share two specific cytogenetic abnormalities: trisomy of chromosome 11 and a t(12;15)(p13;q25) translocation. The t(12;15) rearrangement creates a transcriptionally active fusion gene that encodes a chimeric oncoprotein, ETV6-NTRK3 (EN). EN transforms NIH3T3 fibroblasts through constitutive activation of both the Ras-mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway and the phosphatidylinositol-3'kinase (PI3K)-Akt pathway. However, the role of trisomy 11 in CFS and CMN remains unknown. In this study we demonstrate elevated expression of the chromosome 11p15.5 insulin-like growth factor 2 gene (IGF2) in CFS and CMN tumors. Moreover, we present evidence that an intact IGF signaling axis is essential for in vitro EN-mediated transformation. EN only very weakly transformed so-called R-murine fibroblasts derived from mice with a targeted disruption of the IGF1 receptor gene (IGFRI), but transformation activity was fully restored in R- cells engineered to re-express IGFRI (R+ cells). We also observed that the major IGFRI substrate, insulin-receptor substrate-1 (IRS-1), was constitutively tyrosine phosphorylated and could be co-immunoprecipitated with EN in either R- or R+ cells expressing the EN oncoprotein. IRS-1 association with Grb2 and PI3K p85, which link IGFRI to the Ras-MAPK and PI3K-Akt pathways, respectively, was enhanced in both cell types in the presence of EN. However, activation of the Ras-MAPK and PI3K-Akt pathways was markedly attenuated in EN-expressing R- cells compared to EN-transformed R+ cells. This suggests that IRS-1 may be functioning as an adaptor in EN signal transduction, but that a link to EN transformation pathways requires the presence of IGFRI. Our findings indicate that an intact IGF signaling axis is essential for EN transformation, and are consistent with a role for trisomy 11 in augmenting this pathway in EN expressing tumors.