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BioMed Research International
Volume 2015, Article ID 538019, 24 pages
Review Article

Insulin-Like Growth Factor System in Cancer: Novel Targeted Therapies

1NMR Research Centre, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore 560012, India
2Solid State and Structural Chemistry Unit, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore 560012, India

Received 7 July 2014; Revised 13 October 2014; Accepted 20 October 2014

Academic Editor: Eileen M. McGowan

Copyright © 2015 Varsha P. Brahmkhatri et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Insulin-like growth factors (IGFs) are essential for growth and survival that suppress apoptosis and promote cell cycle progression, angiogenesis, and metastatic activities in various cancers. The IGFs actions are mediated through the IGF-1 receptor that is involved in cell transformation induced by tumour. These effects depend on the bioavailability of IGFs, which is regulated by IGF binding proteins (IGFBPs). We describe here the role of the IGF system in cancer, proposing new strategies targeting this system. We have attempted to expand the general viewpoint on IGF-1R, its inhibitors, potential limitations of IGF-1R, antibodies and tyrosine kinase inhibitors, and IGFBP actions. This review discusses the emerging view that blocking IGF via IGFBP is a better option than blocking IGF receptors. This can lead to the development of novel cancer therapies.