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      Insulin-Like Growth Factor-I and Binding Protein-3 and Risk of Cancer

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          Insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-I is an important mitogen required by some cell types to progress from the G1 phase to the S phase of the cell cycle. IGF binding proteins (IGFBPs) can have opposing actions, in part by binding IGF-I, but also by direct inhibitory effects on target cells. As mitogens and anti-apoptotic agents, IGFs may be important in carcinogenesis, possibly by increasing the risk of cellular transformation by enhancing cell turnover. Indeed, many types of neoplastic cells express or overexpress IGF-I receptors, which stimulate mitogenesis when activated by IGF-I in vitro. In vivo, tissue IGF bioactivity is determined not only by circulating IGF-I and IGFBP levels, but also by local production of IGFs, IGFBPs, and possibly IGFBP proteases that enhance IGF-I availability by cleaving IGFBPs. Because determinants of tissue IGF bioactivity appear to be regulated in parallel with circulating IGF-I level, it is reasonable to hypothesize that the substantial intraindividual variability in circulating levels of IGF-I and IGFBP-3 may be important in determining risk of some cancers. In recent epidemiologic studies, relatively high plasma IGF-I and low IGFBP-3 levels have been independently associated with greater risk of prostate cancer in men, breast cancer among premenopausal women, and colorectal adenoma and cancer in men and women and possibly lung cancer. These include prospective data from the Physicians’ Health Study and the Nurses’ Health Study. In general, two- to fourfold elevated risks have been observed for prostate cancer in men in the top quartile of IGF-I relative to those in the bottom quartile, and low levels of IGFBP-3 were associated with an approximate doubling of risk. For breast cancer, an association with IGF-I for postmenopausal women was not apparent, but strong associations were observed for premenopausal cases in the Nurses’ Health Study. Further study is needed to confirm this subgroup finding in women. Recent data also indicate that high IGF-I and low IGFBP-3 increase risk of colorectal cancer and large or villous adenomas. Of note, for colorectal neoplasia, fourfold elevated risks were observed in men and women with low IGFBP-3, whereas high IGF-I was associated with a doubling of risk. These emerging epidemiologic data indicate that high levels of IGF-I and low levels of IGFBP-3 are associated with an increased risk of at least several types of carcinoma that are common in economically developed countries. Further study is required to determine the clinical relevance of these findings.

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          Most cited references 8

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          Circulating concentrations of insulin-like growth factor-I and risk of breast cancer.

          Insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-I, a mitogenic and antiapoptotic peptide, can affect the proliferation of breast epithelial cells, and is thought to have a role in breast cancer. We hypothesised that high circulating IGF-I concentrations would be associated with an increased risk of breast cancer. We carried out a nested case-control study within the prospective Nurses' Health Study cohort. Plasma concentrations of IGF-I and IGF binding protein 3 (IGFBP-3) were measured in blood samples collected in 1989-90. We identified 397 women who had a diagnosis of breast cancer after this date and 620 age-matched controls. IGF-I concentrations were compared by logistic regression with adjustment for other breast-cancer risk factors. There was no association between IGF-I concentrations and breast-cancer risk among the whole study group. In postmenopausal women there was no association between IGF-I concentrations and breast-cancer risk (top vs bottom quintile of IGF-I, relative risk 0.85 [95% CI 0.53-1.39]). The relative risk of breast cancer among premenopausal women by IGF-I concentration (top vs bottom tertile) was 2.33 (1.06-5.16; p for trend 0.08). Among premenopausal women less than 50 years old at the time of blood collection, the relative risk was 4.58 (1.75-12.0; p for trend 0.02). After further adjustment for plasma IGFBP-3 concentrations these relative risks were 2.88 and 7.28, respectively. A positive relation between circulating IGF-I concentration and risk of breast cancer was found among premenopausal but not postmenopausal women. Plasma IGF-I concentrations may be useful in the identification of women at high risk of breast cancer and in the development of risk reduction strategies. Additional larger studies of this association among premenopausal women are needed to provide more precise estimates of effect.
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            Plasma insulin-like growth factor-I and prostate cancer risk: a prospective study.

            Insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) is a mitogen for prostate epithelial cells. To investigate associations between plasma IGF levels and prostate cancer risk, a nested case-control study within the Physicians' Health Study was conducted on prospectively collected plasma from 152 cases and 152 controls. A strong positive association was observed between IGF-I levels and prostate cancer risk. Men in the highest quartile of IGF-I levels had a relative risk of 4.3 (95 percent confidence interval 1.8 to 10.6) compared with men in the lowest quartile. This association was independent of baseline prostate-specific antigen levels. Identification of plasma IGF-I as a predictor of prostate cancer risk may have implications for risk reduction and treatment.
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              Insulin-like growth factors and their binding proteins: biological actions

               J Jones (1995)

                Author and article information

                Horm Res Paediatr
                Hormone Research in Paediatrics
                S. Karger AG
                November 1999
                17 November 2004
                : 51
                : Suppl 3
                : 34-41
                Channing Laboratory, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Mass., and Department of Nutrition and Department of Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Mass., USA
                53160 Horm Res 1999;51(suppl 3):34–41
                © 1999 S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Page count
                References: 56, Pages: 8
                IGFs, IGFBPs and Risk of Prostate and Breast Cancer


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