Insulin-like growth factors (IGF) enhance three-dimensional (3D) growth of human glioblastomas

Lorri A. Morford, Erwin R. Boghaert, William H. Brooks, Thomas L. Roszman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Human glioblastomas (gliomas) are characterized as rapidly growing brain tumors which are highly invasive but rarely metastatic. Human gliomas synthesize and secrete increased levels of insulin-like growth factors (IGFs) as well as expressing increased numbers of IGF receptors when compared to normal brain tissue. These observations suggest the existence of an IGF-mediated autocrine mechanism for glioma growth regulation. The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of human recombinant IGF (hrIGF) treatment on the in vitro growth of human glioma monolayer and three-dimensional (3D) multicellular spheroid cultures. The data demonstrate that hrIGF-I treatment of glioma cell lines slightly enhanced tumor monolayer proliferation as measured by [3H]thymidine incorporation. In contrast, treatment of glioma spheroids with hrIGF-I or hrDes(1-3)IGF-I, the truncated brain form of IGF-I, dramatically enhanced 3D tumor growth with a 1.5-2-fold reduction in spheroid doubling time (FRSDT). In addition, IGF-treated glioma spheroids were more densely packed than spheroids grown in media alone with no observed necrosis. These data suggest that IGFs will dramatically enhance glioma proliferation when 3D cell-cell contact occurs. This observed enhancement suggests that IGFs both synthesized in the brain and systemically support rapid proliferation of gliomas in vivo.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-90
Number of pages10
JournalCancer Letters
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 1 1997


  • Des(1-3)IGF-I
  • Glioblastoma multiforme
  • Glioma
  • Growth
  • Human
  • IGF-I
  • Spheroid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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