Insulin and IGFs in obesity-related breast cancer

Valentina Belardi, Emily J. Gallagher, Ruslan Novosyadlyy, Derek Leroith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


Obesity and the Metabolic Syndrome are associated with multiple factors that may cause an increased risk for cancer and cancer-related mortality. Factors involved include hyperinsulinemia, hyperglycemia, hyperlipidemia and IGFs. Insulin resistance is also associated with alterations in the levels of proinflammatory cytokines, chemokines, adipokines (leptin, adiponectin) that may also be contributing factors. The insulin family of proteins is ubiquitously expressed and has pleiotropic effects on metabolism and growth. However insulin, IGF-1 and particularly IGF-2 have been identified as tumor promoters in multiple studies. Mouse models have focused on insulin and IGF-1 and their receptors as being involved in tumor progression and metastases. The role of the insulin receptor as either mediating the effects on tumors or as compensating for the insulin-like growth factor receptor has arisen. Its role has been supported by preclinical studies and the importance of insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia in obesity and early diabetes. Since the focus of this review is the insulin-family we will focus on insulin, IGF-1 and IGF-2.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)277-289
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Mammary Gland Biology and Neoplasia
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Dec 2013


  • Cancer
  • Hyperinsulinemia
  • Insulin-like growth factor
  • Metabolic Syndrome: Diabetes Mellitus
  • Obesity


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