Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

The type 1 insulin-like growth factor receptor (IGF1R) is a promising anticancer treatment target, being frequently overexpressed by tumours, and mediating proliferation, motility and apoptosis protection. Design of specific kinase inhibitors is problematic because of homology between the IGF1R and insulin receptor. This obstacle can be circumvented using sequence-specific molecular agents including antisense, triplex and ribozymes. Recent studies indicate that profound sequence-specific IGF1R gene silencing can be induced by small interfering RNAs that mediate RNA interference in mammalian cells. IGF1R downregulation blocks tumour growth and metastasis, and enhances sensitivity to cytotoxic drugs and irradiation. In murine melanoma cells, radiosensitisation is associated with impaired activation of Atm, which is required for initiation of cell cycle checkpoints and DNA repair pathways after double-strand DNA breaks. Furthermore, tumour cells killed in vivo following IGF1R downregulation can provoke an immune response, protecting against tumour rechallenge. After years of studying the role of the IGF system in tumour biology, novel agents for IGF1R targeting will soon be available for clinical testing. This review summarises the development of molecular agents, and considers factors that will influence clinical activity, including the requirement of established tumours for IGF signalling, and the efficacy and toxicity of IGF1R inhibitors.

Original publication




Journal article


Horm Metab Res

Publication Date





843 - 849


Animals, Antineoplastic Agents, Gene Expression Regulation, Humans, Neoplasms, RNA, Small Interfering, Receptor, IGF Type 1