Expression of the Insulin-like Growth Factor-I Receptor in Primary Breast Cancer and Lymph Node Metastases: Correlations with Estrogen Receptors α and β

M. Koda, S. Sulkowski, C. Garofalo, L. Kanczuga-Koda, M. Sulkowska, E. Surmacz

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Numerous laboratory studies and some epidemiological data have suggested the involvement of the insulin-like growth factor-I receptor (IGF-IR) in breast cancer development and progression. However, data on IGF-IR expression in human tissues, including breast cancer sections, are limited and often inconsistent. We therefore examined by immunohistochemistry the expression of IGF-IR in primary tumors and breast cancer metastases to lymph nodes, and correlated IGF-IR positivity with estrogen receptor (ER) status and selected clinicopathological features. We found that 1) IGF-IR was expressed in primary tumors as well as in lymph node metastases, but the expression in primary tumors was more frequent (56% vs. 44.4%); 2) IGF-IR expression in primary tumors was associated with negative node status (p <0.033); 3) in node-negative primary tumors, IGF-IR positively correlated with ERβ (p <0.008; r = 0.538), but not with ERα, tumor size or grade; 4) both IGF-IR-positive and IGF-IR-negative primary tumors were found to produce IGF-IR-positive as well as IGF-IR-negative metastases; 5) in metastases, IGF-IR expression did not associate with ERα, ERβ or any of the studied pathobiological markers. The results suggest that IGF-IR could become a viable pharmaceutical target in breast cancer therapy, but such therapy should be based on IGF-IR assessment in primary tumor and metastasis in each potential patient.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)794-801
Number of pages8
JournalHormone and Metabolic Research
Issue number11-12
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2003



  • Breast Cancer
  • Estrogen Receptor α
  • Estrogen Receptor β
  • Insulin-like Growth Factor-1 receptor
  • Lymph Node Metastasis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology

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