The Insulinlike Growth Factor1 Ligand In Breast Cancer Management

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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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