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NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms


insulin-like growth factor  listen  (IN-suh-lin-like grothe FAK-ter)

  A protein made by the body that stimulates the growth of many types of cells. Insulin-like growth factor is similar to insulin (a hormone made in the pancreas). There are two forms of insulin-like growth factor called IGF-1 and IGF-2. Higher than normal levels of IGF-1 may increase the risk of several types of cancer. Insulin-like growth factor is a type of growth factor and a type of cytokine. Also called IGF and somatomedin.