The importance of insulin-like growth factor 1 receptor (IGF-1R) signalling in malignant behaviour of tumour cells is well established. Currently, development of drugs targeting the IGF-1R as anticancer treatment is emerging. Several IGF-1R targeting strategies are being investigated in phases I and II clinical trials. Interactions of IGF-1R with insulin receptor, however, might complicate efficiency and tolerability of such drugs. This review describes mechanisms, recent developments and potential limitations of IGF-1R antibodies and tyrosine kinase inhibitors.