The Insulinlike Growth Factor1 Ligand In Breast Cancer Management

Yoon M. Chong, Ash A. Subramanian, and Kefah Mokbel

Department of Breast and Endocrine Surgery, St. George's Hospital, London, SW17 0QT, UK

Abstract: The insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) system plays an important role in normal human development and is also a potent mitogen which can stimulate the development and progression of breast cancer cells. This review aims at looks at how measuring IGF-1 levels may be used in the clinical management of breast cancer patients. Many studies have shown that IGF-1 acts synergistically with oestrogen to stimulate breast cancer cells. Case-control studies have also shown that premenopausal women with high levels of serum IGF-1 have a high risk of developing breast cancer later in life which does not apply to postmenopausal women with correspondingly high serum levels. Serum IGF-1 levels can therefore potentially be used as biomarkers for predicting breast cancer risk while some studies have started using serum IGF-1 levels as a response bio-marker for chemopreventive drug trials. Measuring IGF-1 ligand expression in breast cancer tissue is not consistently associated with better or worst prognosis features. Identifying the IGF-1 gene polymorphism can potentially be used in predicting breast cancer risk and 17beta HSD 1 inhibitors is underway with promising initial results.

Keywords: IGF-1, IGFBP, biomarker, clinicopathological relevance, survival, breast cancer

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