Insulin-Like Growth Factor 2 - The Oncogene and its Accomplices

Curr Pharm Des. 2016;22(39):5948-5961. doi: 10.2174/1381612822666160713100235.


The era of personalized medicine for cancer treatment has just begun opening up novel molecular targets improving cancer therapy. Members of the insulin-like growth factor 2 (IGF2) axis have been described to be altered and to have prognostic relevance in several different tumor identities. IGF2 belongs to the most complexly regulated growth factors known. As an imprinted gene it is controlled by epigenetic alterations. IGF2 mRNA binding proteins (IMPs/IGF2BPs) further regulate its translation. IGF2 activity is contained through IGF binding proteins (IGFBPs) and differential expression of the target receptors. The necessity of such a complex regulation implies pathophysiological effects of a deregulated expression of IGF2. This review attempts to summarize the different levels of IGF2 regulation, especially in the context of cancer. Members of the IGF2 axis are enlightened from the perspective of novel molecular targets for cancer therapy. Preclinical as well as experimental therapeutic interventions targeting IGF2 in cancer will be surveyed.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor II / genetics*
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor II / metabolism
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Neoplasms / metabolism


  • IGF2 protein, human
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor II