Chromosome rearrangements resulting in pathogenetically important gene fusions are a common feature of many cancers. They are often potent oncogenic drivers and have key functions in central cellular processes and pathways and encode transcription factors, transcriptional co-regulators, growth factor receptors, tyrosine kinases, and chromatin modifiers. In addition to being useful diagnostic biomarkers, they are also targets for development of new molecularly targeted therapies. Studies in recent decades have shown that several oncogenic gene fusions interact with the insulin-like growth factor (IGF) signaling pathway. For example, the MYB-NFIB fusion in adenoid cystic carcinoma is regulated by IGF1R through an autocrine loop, and IGF1R is a downstream target of the EWSR1-WT1 and PAX3-FKHR fusions in desmoplastic small round cell tumors and alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma, respectively. Here, we will discuss the mechanisms behind the interactions between oncogenic gene fusions and the IGF signaling pathway. We will also discuss the role of therapeutic inhibition of IGF1R in fusion gene driven malignancies.
Keywords: FET oncogenes; IGF signaling; IGF1R; IGF2; MYB; adenoid cystic carcinoma; carcinoma; gene fusions; salivary gland tumor; sarcoma.