The insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1) signalling is highly implicated in cancer. In this signalling the IGF-1 receptor (IGF-1R) is unquestionable, the predominating single factor. IGF-1R is crucial for tumour transformation and survival of malignant cell, but is only partially involved in normal cell growth. This is in part due to the interactions with oncogenes. Recent findings suggest a close interplay with the p53/MDM2 pathway. Disturbances in components in the p53/MDM2/IGF-1R network may cause IGF-1R upregulation and growth advantage for the cancer cell. Targeting of IGF-1R is more and more seen as a promising option for future cancer therapy. Single chain antibodies and small molecules with selective effects on IGF-1R dependent malignant growth are of particular interest. Forthcoming clinical trials are welcome and will indeed be the only way to evaluate the impact of IGF-1R targeting in human cancer.