Impact of targeting insulin-like growth factor signaling in head and neck cancers

Growth Horm IGF Res. 2013 Oct;23(5):135-40. doi: 10.1016/j.ghir.2013.06.001. Epub 2013 Jun 29.


The IGF system has been shown to have either negative or negligible impact on clinical outcomes of tumor development depending on specific tumor sites or stages. This review focuses on the clinical impact of IGF signaling in head and neck cancer, the effects of IGF targeted therapies, and the multi-dimensional role of IRS 1/2 signaling as a potential mechanism in resistance to targeted therapies. Similar to other tumor sites, both negative and positive correlations between levels of IGF-1/IGF-1-R and clinical outcomes in head and neck cancer have been reported. In addition, utilization of IGF targeted therapies has not demonstrated significant clinical benefit; therefore the prognostic impact of the IGF system on head and neck cancer remains uncertain.

Keywords: AMP-activated protein kinase; AMPK; Akt; Clinical outcomes; EGF; EGFR; HNSCC; Head and neck cancer; IGF; IGF inhibition; IGF-1-R; IGFBP; IRS; MAPK; OCSCC; PI3K; epidermal growth factor; epidermal growth factor receptor; head and neck squamous cell carcinoma; insulin receptor substrate; insulin-like growth factor; insulin-like growth factor binding protein; insulin-like growth factor-1 receptor; mTOR; mammalian target of rapamycin; mitogen-activated protein kinases; oral cavity squamous cell carcinoma; phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase; protein kinase B, PKB.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / diagnosis
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / drug therapy*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / etiology
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / etiology
  • Humans
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I / physiology
  • Molecular Targeted Therapy*
  • Obesity / complications
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Prognosis
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Squamous Cell Carcinoma of Head and Neck


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I