Targeting the Insulin-Like Growth Factor 1 Receptor in Ewing's Sarcoma: Reality and Expectations

Sarcoma. 2011;2011:402508. doi: 10.1155/2011/402508. Epub 2011 May 3.


Ewing's sarcoma family of tumours comprises a group of very aggressive diseases that are potentially curable with multimodality treatment. Despite the undoubted success of current treatment, approximately 30% of patients will relapse and ultimately die of disease. The insulin-like growth factor 1 receptor (IGF-1R) has been implicated in the genesis, growth, proliferation, and the development of metastatic disease in Ewing's sarcoma. In addition, IGF1-R has been validated, both in vitro and in vivo, as a potential therapeutic target in Ewing's sarcoma. Phase I studies of IGF-1R monoclonal antibodies reported several radiological and clinical responses in Ewing's sarcoma patients, and initial reports of several Phase II studies suggest that about a fourth of the patients would benefit from IGF-1R monoclonal antibodies as single therapy, with approximately 10% of patients achieving objective responses. Furthermore, these therapies are well tolerated, and thus far severe toxicity has been rare. Other studies assessing IGF-1R monoclonal antibodies in combination with traditional cytotoxics or other targeted therapies are expected. Despite, the initial promising results, not all patients benefit from IGF-1R inhibition, and consequently, there is an urgent need for the identification of predictive markers of response.