Colon cancer patients frequently show increased levels of serum insulin-like growth factor-binding protein-2 (IGFBP-2), however, the pathogenetic relevance of this phenomenon for colorectal cancer is unclear. Therefore, we have used IGFBP-2 transgenic animals which overexpress IGFBP-2 systemically and locally in the intestine to study its role in chemically induced colorectal carcinogenesis. Mice received intraperitoneal injections of 1,2-dimethylhydrazine (DMH) (40 mg/kg body weight) once a week for 6 weeks to selectively induce aberrant crypt foci (ACF) and tumors in the colon. While tumor incidence was comparable in transgenic and control mice, the volume of adenomas in IGFBP-2 transgenic mice was reduced more than 2-fold. Furthermore, serum IGFBP-2 levels negatively correlated with tumor volume in the IGFBP-2 transgenic group. Histological examination showed that IGFBP-2 transgenic mice developed significantly less dysplastic ACF with a high potential to progress to advanced stages. The reduced tumor volume in IGFBP-2 transgenic animals was due to significantly reduced proliferative capacity, evidenced by a lower proportion of cells positive for Ki67. Our results demonstrate for the first time in an experimental model that IGFBP-2 overabundance prior to the onset and during colorectal carcinogenesis reduces tumor growth by inhibition of cell proliferation. © 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.