Up-regulation of insulin-like growth factor axis components in human primary prostate cancer correlates with tumor grade

Hum Pathol. 2005 Nov;36(11):1186-96. doi: 10.1016/j.humpath.2005.07.023. Epub 2005 Oct 7.


There is an evidence that components of the insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-signaling pathway are involved in the development and progression of prostate cancer. The aim of the present study was to provide a comprehensive analysis of the expression levels of proteins of the IGF axis in prostate cancer. We studied expression of the ligands IGF-I and IGF-II, the inhibitory IGF binding protein-3, the type I IGF receptor (IGF-IR), and the downstream mediator insulin receptor substrate-1 by immunohistochemistry in 56 tissue specimens (28 low-grade and 28 high-grade prostate adenocarcinomas). Protein expression in tumor areas, prostatic intraepithelial neoplasias (PINs), and adjacent benign prostatic tissue were evaluated regarding staining intensity and fraction of positive cells. An immunoreactivity score was established from staining intensity and fraction of positive cells, and correlated with the prognostic clinicopathologic parameters prostate-specific antigen serum levels, Gleason score, and TNM stage. The expression levels of all proteins investigated, except IGF binding protein-3, were up-regulated in PIN and in cancer. IGF-I and IGF-II expression showed a higher expression in high-grade compared with low-grade tumor areas. IGF-I and IGF-II and insulin receptor substrate-1 immunoreactivity was higher in tumors from patients with preoperative prostate-specific antigen serum levels 10 ng/mL or greater, and IGF-II expression was correlated with Gleason score. The data indicate significant alterations in the IGF system as prostate cancer develops. Differential expression of growth-stimulating components of the IGF system may be associated with the malignant phenotype and more aggressive tumor behavior. Expression of IGFs, especially IGF-II, may be predictors of the outcome of prostate cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers, Tumor / analysis
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Insulin Receptor Substrate Proteins
  • Male
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Phosphoproteins / metabolism
  • Prognosis
  • Prostate-Specific Antigen / blood
  • Prostatic Intraepithelial Neoplasia / metabolism*
  • Prostatic Intraepithelial Neoplasia / pathology*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Receptor, IGF Type 1 / metabolism
  • Somatomedins / metabolism*
  • Up-Regulation


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • IRS1 protein, human
  • Insulin Receptor Substrate Proteins
  • Phosphoproteins
  • Somatomedins
  • Receptor, IGF Type 1
  • Prostate-Specific Antigen