Insulin-like growth factors and their principal receptor, IGF-I receptor (IGF-IR), are frequently expressed in human colon cancers and play a role in preventing apoptosis, enhancing cell proliferation, and inducing expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). The role of IGF-IR in regulating angiogenesis and metastases of human colon cancer has not been elucidated. To determine the in vitro and in vivo effects of IGF-IR in human colon cancer growth and angiogenesis, human KM12L4 colon cancer cells were transfected with a truncated dominant-negative form of IGF-IR (IGF-IR dom-neg). IGF-IR dom-neg-transfected cells demonstrated markedly decreased constitutive expression of VEGF mRNA and protein. Subcutaneous injections of IGF-IR dom-neg-transfected cells in nude mice led to significantly decreased tumor growth (p < 0.05) that was associated with decreased tumor cell proliferation, VEGF expression, and vessel count and with increased tumor cell apoptosis (p < 0.05 for all parameters compared with controls). In addition, pericyte coverage of endothelial cells was significantly decreased in tumors from IGF-IR dom-neg-transfected cells. Following this observation, we demonstrated in vitro that vascular smooth muscle cells migrated significantly less in conditioned medium derived from IGF-IR dom-neg-transfected cells compared with medium from control cells. After splenic injections, IGF-IR dom-neg transfectants failed to produce liver metastases, in contrast to parental cells and mock transfectants (p < 0.05). In addition, IGF-IR dom-neg-transfected cells failed to form liver tumors after direct injection into the liver. These studies demonstrate that the IGF-IR plays an important role in multiple mechanisms that mediate the growth, angiogenesis, and metastasis of human colon cancer. IGF-IR is a valid target for the therapy of human colon cancer.