Systematic Survey of the Role of IGF in the Link Between Diabetes and Cancer

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Nirupama Devanathan
Ann Kimble-Hill


Epidemiological studies have proposed a link between type II diabetes and cancer via the IGF/insulin signaling pathway, which includes insulin-like peptides (IGF1, IGF2, and insulin), insulin receptors (IR-A, IR-B, IGF1R, and hybrids), and insulin substrate proteins (IRS1-6). In this study, up- and down-regulation of various components in the IGF/insulin signaling pathway are compared to clinical outcomes for cancer patients; the components include diagnosis age, overall survival, tumor invasion and vascularization, and body mass index. It was found that the up-regulation of insulin growth Factor (IGF)/insulin components was associated with overall survival and tumor invasion and vascularization, while the down-regulation of equivalent components was not associated with clinical outcomes assessed in this study. Particularly, the up-regulation of DOK5, IGF2, and IRS2 in colorectal cancer and IGF1R in liver cancer is associated with significantly decreased overall survival. Functional aberrations in either of the two proteins in co-expression pairs were identified for each cancer and correlated with overall survival and diagnosis age. Specific biomarkers proposed in this study will be further analyzed to fine-tune consistent associations that can be translated to reliable prognostic standards for the roles of IGF/insulin signaling pathway modulations that promote cancer.


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Devanathan, N., & Kimble-Hill, A. (2018). Systematic Survey of the Role of IGF in the Link Between Diabetes and Cancer. IU Journal of Undergraduate Research, 4(1), 17–26.
Natural Sciences


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