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Cancer Causes Control. 2002 Aug;13(6):509-16.

Nonlinear relationship of insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-I and IGF-I/IGF-binding protein-3 ratio with indices of adiposity and plasma insulin concentrations (Sweden).

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  • 1Department of Nutrition and Cancer, International Agency for Research on Cancer, 150 Cours Albert Thomas, 69372 Lyon, France.



In this study we test the hypothesis of a nonlinear relationship of IGF-I with indices of body fat such as body mass index (BMI), insulin, and leptin.


The controls used in three case-control cancer studies nested in the Northern Sweden Health and Disease Cohort, were combined for this analysis. Measurements of plasma IGF-I, IGFBP-3, insulin, and leptin were available for 445 men and 391 women.


In both men and women we found the highest mean IGF-I levels in subjects with BMI between 24 and 26. IGF-I concentrations decreased toward BMI < or = 20 and BMI > 30 in men; however, the results for women did not reach statistical significance. The molar ratio of IGF-I/IGFBP-3 showed a similar profile to that of IGF-I, although much less pronounced. The observed peak mean IGF-I levels in the second quintiles of insulin and leptin in men supported these findings. No significant variation of mean IGF-I levels across quintiles of insulin and leptin were observed in women.


The results of this study provide evidence that IGF-I plasma concentrations vary substantially over a wide range of body weight and that the relationship is nonlinear.

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