The insulin-like growth factor pathway plays a major role in cancer cell proliferation, survival and resistance to anti-cancer therapies in many human malignancies, including breast cancer. As a key signaling component of IGF system, the IGF-1 receptor is the target of several investigational agents in clinical and pre-clinical development. This review will focus on the rationale for targeting the IGF-1 receptor and other components of the IGF-1 system. In addition, we will examine the role of IGF-1 signaling in resistance to clinically important breast cancer therapies, including cytotoxic chemotherapy, hormonal therapy and erbB targeted agents. We will also review the completed and ongoing clinical investigations with IGF-1 receptors inhibitors to date and the utility of these early data in designing future breast cancer studies with IGF-1 signaling inhibition strategies.