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.