Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

IGF-1 receptor and IGF binding protein-3 might predict prognosis of patients with resectable pancreatic cancer

Toshiki Hirakawa1, Masakazu Yashiro12*, Akihiro Murata1, Keiichiro Hirata1, Kenjiro Kimura1, Ryosuke Amano1, Nobuya Yamada1, Bunzo Nakata1 and Kosei Hirakawa1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Surgical Oncology, Osaka City University Graduate School of Medicine, 1-4-3 Asahi-machi, Osaka, Abeno-ku, Japan

2 Oncology Institute of Geriatrics and Medical Science, Osaka City University Graduate School of Medicine, 1-4-3 Asahi-machi, Osaka, Abeno-ku 545-8585, Japan

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BMC Cancer 2013, 13:392  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-13-392

Published: 21 August 2013



The present study aimed to elucidate the clinicopathologic role of insulin-like growth factor-1 receptor (IGF1R) and IGF binding protein-3 (IGFBP3) in patients with pancreatic cancer. The function of IGFBP3 is controversial, because both inhibition and facilitation of the action of IGF as well as IGF-independent effects have been reported. In this study, IGF1R and IGFBP3 expression was examined, and their potential roles as prognostic markers in patients with pancreatic cancer were evaluated.


Clinicopathological features of 122 patients with curatively resected pancreatic cancer were retrospectively reviewed, and expression of IGF1R and IGFBP3 was immunohistochemically analyzed.


Expression of IGF1R and IGFBP3 was observed in 50 (41.0%) and 37 (30.3%) patients, respectively. IGF1R expression was significantly associated with histological grade (p = 0.037). IGFBP3 expression had a significant association with tumor location (p = 0.023), and a significant inverse association with venous invasion (p = 0.037). Tumors with IGF1R-positive and IGFBP3-negative expression (n = 32) were significantly frequently Stage II and III (p = 0.011). The prognosis for IGF1R positive patients was significantly poorer than that for IGF1R negative patients (p = 0.0181). IGFBP3 protein expression did not correlate significantly with patient survival. The subset of patients with both positive IGF1R and negative IGFBP3 had worse overall survival (8.8 months versus 12.6 months, respectively, p < 0.001).


IGF1R signaling might be associated with tumor aggressiveness, and IGFBP3 might show antiproliferative effects in pancreatic cancer. Both high IGF1R expression and low IGFBP3 expression represent useful prognostic markers for patients with curatively resected pancreatic cancer.

Pancreatic cancer; IGF1R; IGFBP3; Prognosis