Molecular Signatures of the Insulin-like Growth Factor 1-mediated Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition in Breast, Lung and Gastric Cancers

Int J Mol Sci. 2018 Aug 15;19(8):2411. doi: 10.3390/ijms19082411.


The insulin-like growth factor (IGF) system, which is constituted by the IGF-1 and IGF-2 peptide hormones, their corresponding receptors and several IGF binding proteins, is involved in physiological and pathophysiological processes. The IGF system promotes cancer proliferation/survival and its signaling induces the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) phenotype, which contributes to the migration, invasiveness, and metastasis of epithelial tumors. These cancers share two major IGF-1R signaling transduction pathways, PI3K/AKT and RAS/MEK/ERK. However, as far as we could review at this time, each type of cancer cell undergoes EMT through tumor-specific routes. Here, we review the tumor-specific molecular signatures of IGF-1-mediated EMT in breast, lung, and gastric cancers.

Keywords: IGF-1 receptor (IGF-1R); PI3K/AKT pathway; RAS/MEK/ERK pathway; cancer; epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT); insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1); metastasis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I / analysis
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I / metabolism*
  • Lung Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Receptor, IGF Type 1 / analysis
  • Receptor, IGF Type 1 / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction
  • Stomach Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Stomach Neoplasms / pathology*


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