Journal of Mammary Gland Biology and Neoplasia

, Volume 18, Issue 3, pp 277–289

Insulin and IGFs in Obesity-Related Breast Cancer

  • Valentina Belardi
  • Emily J. Gallagher
  • Ruslan Novosyadlyy
  • Derek LeRoith

DOI: 10.1007/s10911-013-9303-7

Cite this article as:
Belardi, V., Gallagher, E.J., Novosyadlyy, R. et al. J Mammary Gland Biol Neoplasia (2013) 18: 277. doi:10.1007/s10911-013-9303-7


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.


Insulin-like growth factorObesityMetabolic Syndrome: Diabetes MellitusCancerHyperinsulinemia



insulin-like growth factor-1


insulin-like growth factor-2


insulin-like growth factor binding protein


mitogen activated protein kinase


estrogen receptor


phosphotidyinositol 3-kinase

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Valentina Belardi
    • 1
  • Emily J. Gallagher
    • 2
  • Ruslan Novosyadlyy
    • 3
  • Derek LeRoith
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of EndocrinologyUniversity of PisaPisaItaly
  2. 2.Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Bone DiseasesIcahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai of MedicineNew YorkUSA
  3. 3.Department of Oncology - Translational MedicineImclone Systems, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Eli Lilly and companyNew YorkUSA