Insulin-Like Growth Factor Signaling as a Therapeutic Target in Pancreatic Cancer

ISSN: 1875-5992 (Online)
ISSN: 1871-5206 (Print)

Volume 17, 14 Issues, 2017

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Anti-Cancer Agents in Medicinal Chemistry

Formerly: Current Medicinal Chemistry - Anti-Cancer Agents

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Michelle Prudhomme
Institut de Chimie de Clermont-Ferrand
Université Clermont Auvergne

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Insulin-Like Growth Factor Signaling as a Therapeutic Target in Pancreatic Cancer

Anti-Cancer Agents in Medicinal Chemistry, 11(5): 427-433.

Author(s): Simon Rieder, Christoph W. Michalski, Helmut Friess and > Kleeff.

Affiliation: Department of Surgery, Technische Universitat Munchen, Ismaninger Str. 22, 81675 Munich, Germany.


Insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) leads via its receptor IGF-1R to the activation of the PI3K/Akt pathway, providing antiapoptotic signals to pre-malignant and malignant cells. In pancreatic cancer, IGF-1 and its receptor are constitutively overexpressed. Mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) is the main mediator of mitogenic stimuli transduced by PI3K/Akt. Interestingly, inhibition of mTOR activates PI3K/Akt by up-regulating IGF-1R signaling. Several targeted agents have been developed to inhibit the activity of IGF-1 or to block IGF-1R. These pharmaceuticals may offer additional ways of stimulating apoptosis in neoplastic cells. Yet, there are difficulties in targeting this pathway: The ideal anti-cancer drug target is expressed only in cancer cells; however, IGF-1 and its receptor IGF-1R are ubiquitously expressed throughout the body. Moreover, when using antibodies against IGF-1R, the structurally similar insulin receptor might also be blocked, leading to hyperglycemia as a severe side effect. There are currently several phase I/II trials investigating IGF-1 and its receptor as a drug target in various kinds of cancer. Specifically, therapeutic effects on pancreatic cancer by combining a humanized monoclonal antibody against IGF-1R with other chemotherapeutics are being investigated. To improve the clinical outcome of mTOR inhibitors such as everolimus, it has been suggested to use combination therapies of mTOR inhibitors and IGF-1/IGF-1R inhibitors. In theory, this would counterbalance the feedback effects of mTOR inhibition on IGF-1 signaling. In conclusion, IGF-1 and its receptor are promising new drug targets in cancer therapy. Combination therapies of IGF-1/IGF-1R inhibitors and mTOR inhibitors could improve the clinical outcome.


IGF-1, mTOR, chemotherapy, pancreatic cancer.

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Article Details

Volume: 11
Issue Number: 5
First Page: 427
Last Page: 433
Page Count: 7
DOI: 10.2174/187152011795677454
Price: $58
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