The prognostic significance of the insulin-like growth factor-1 ligand and receptor expression in breast cancer tissue

J Surg Oncol. 2011 Sep 1;104(3):228-35. doi: 10.1002/jso.21916. Epub 2011 Apr 7.


Background and objectives: Previous in vitro studies have suggested that IGF-1 stimulation can lead a more aggressive breast cancers and subsequent poor prognosis in breast cancer patients. We aim to how IGF-1 and IGF-1R mRNA levels in breast cancer are associated with disease-free survival (DFS) and other clinicopathological factors.

Methods: IGF-1 and IGF-1R mRNA levels were measured in breast cancer tissue from 132 patients using real-time PCR. DFS and clinicopathological information were obtained from patient case notes.

Results: IGF-1 and IGF-1R mRNA levels did not correlate with any clinicopathological factors. Patients who relapsed had lower IGF-1 mRNA levels in their tumour tissue compared to those who remained disease-free during the 5-year follow-up period. Patients who had ER-positive breast cancers with high IGF-1 mRNA levels had longer DFS compared to those with low IGF-1 mRNA levels. IGF-1 mRNA levels was not associated with DFS in patients with ER-negative cancers. IGF-1R mRNA levels was not associated with DFS in any subgroup analysis. Multivariate analysis showed that IGF-1 mRNA levels and histopathological grade were independent predictors of DFS.

Conclusions: Breast cancer tissue IGF-1 expression is a favourable prognostic indicator and could be used in clinical setting in planning for adjuvant treatment.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Breast Neoplasms / mortality
  • Breast Neoplasms / therapy
  • Carcinoma, Ductal, Breast / genetics*
  • Carcinoma, Ductal, Breast / mortality
  • Carcinoma, Ductal, Breast / therapy
  • Carcinoma, Lobular / genetics*
  • Carcinoma, Lobular / mortality
  • Carcinoma, Lobular / therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I / genetics*
  • Lymphatic Metastasis
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / genetics*
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / mortality
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / therapy
  • Prognosis
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics*
  • Receptor, IGF Type 1 / genetics*
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Survival Rate


  • RNA, Messenger
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I
  • Receptor, IGF Type 1