Insulin-like growth factor-1 inhibits cell death induced by anticancer drugs in the MCF-7 cells: involvement of growth factors in drug resistance

Cancer Invest. 1995;13(5):480-6. doi: 10.3109/07357909509024911.


The involvement of growth factors in cell survival in the presence of anticancer drugs was investigated. Cell death was induced in the human breast cancer cell line MCF-7, by the structurally and mechanistically unrelated chemotherapeutic drugs puromycin, actinomycin D, 5-fluorouracil, cisplatin, and adriamycin. The effect of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), epidermal growth factor (EGF), and insulin on cell death was evaluated by two different methods: (1) trypan blue dye exclusion test and (2) lactic dehydrogenase release into the culture medium. IGF-1 inhibited cell death induced by each of the diverse drugs in a concentration-dependent manner reaching a maximal effect at 40 ng/ml. Insulin mimicked the effect of IGF-1 only at supraphysiological concentration with an optimal effect at 10,000 ng/ml. EGF had no effect on cell death up to 100 ng/ml. Our finding that IGF-1 specifically enhanced MCF-7 cell survival in the presence of different anticancer drugs suggests the involvement of growth factors in the mechanism of drug resistance.

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Cell Death / drug effects
  • Drug Resistance
  • Epidermal Growth Factor / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Insulin / pharmacology
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I / pharmacology*
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Insulin
  • Epidermal Growth Factor
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I