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Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2005 May;14(5):1204-11.

Insulin-like growth factor polymorphisms and colorectal cancer risk.

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  • 1Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Cancer Prevention, 1100 Fairview Avenue North, M4-B402, Seattle WA 98109, USA.


Several modifiable lifestyle factors, such as physical activity, obesity, and postmenopausal hormone use, have been associated with colorectal cancer risk. It has been hypothesized that some or all of these factors may mediate their effects through alterations in insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) and its binding proteins (IGFBP). To evaluate the role of IGFs in colorectal cancer, we examined the relationship of two common genetic polymorphisms in IGF-1 (a cytosine-adenosine dinucleotide repeat) and IGFBP-3 (a G --> C single nucleotide polymorphism) with colorectal cancer risk, as well as their potential modification by physical activity, body mass index (BMI), and postmenopausal hormone use. Subjects included 782 male and female colorectal cancer cases diagnosed between 1998 and 2002 and reported to the statewide registry in the metropolitan Seattle area, and 503 age- and sex-matched cancer-free population controls. Colorectal cancer was modestly associated with having an IGF-1 genotype other than homozygous for 19 repeats (odds ratio, 1.3; 95% confidence interval, 1.0-1.6) and having the GG IGFBP-3 genotype (odds ratio, 1.3; 95% confidence interval, 1.0-1.8). There was evidence that IGF-1 genotype modified the relationship between BMI and colorectal cancer among women, such that high BMI increased risk of colorectal cancer only among those with the 19/19 genotype (P(interaction) = 0.02). IGFBP-3 genotype was also a significant effect modifier of the relationship between risk factors and colorectal cancer: The positive association between BMI and colorectal cancer was observed only among men (P(interaction) < 0.01) and women (P(interaction) = 0.06) with the GG genotype; the inverse association between postmenopausal hormone use and colorectal cancer was observed only among women with the GG genotype (P = 0.01) and the inverse association between physical activity and colorectal cancer was observed only among men who carried the C allele (P < 0.01). The current study provides some support for a role of IGFs in colorectal cancer etiology, particularly in mediating the relationship of common risk factors (physical activity, BMI, and postmenopausal hormone use).

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