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Cancer Causes Control. 2014 May;25(5):625-32. doi: 10.1007/s10552-014-0369-3. Epub 2014 Mar 25.

Association of C-peptide and leptin with prostate cancer incidence in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study.

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  • 1Department of Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Rm E6132, 615 N. Wolfe Street, Baltimore, MD, 21205, USA.



Hyperinsulinemia is hypothesized to influence prostate cancer risk. Thus, we evaluated the association of circulating C-peptide, which is a marker of insulin secretion, and leptin, which is secreted in response to insulin and influences insulin sensitivity, with prostate cancer risk.


We identified prostate cancer cases (n = 1,314) diagnosed a mean of 5.4 years after blood draw and matched controls (n = 1,314) in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study. Plasma C-peptide and leptin concentrations were measured by ELISA. Odds ratios (ORs) and 95 % confidence intervals (CI) were estimated taking into account the matching factors age and history of a PSA test before blood draw and further adjusting for body mass index, diabetes, and other factors.


Neither C-peptide (quartile [Q]4 vs. Q1: OR 1.05, 95 % CI 0.82-1.34, p-trend = 0.95) nor leptin (Q4 vs. Q1: OR 0.85, 95 % CI 0.65-1.12, p-trend = 0.14) was associated with prostate cancer risk. Further, neither was associated with risk of advanced or lethal disease (n = 156 cases; C-peptide: Q4 vs. Q1, OR 1.18, 95 % CI 0.69-2.03, p-trend = 0.78; leptin: Q4 vs. Q1, OR 0.74, 95 % CI 0.41-1.36, p-trend = 0.34).


In this large prospective study, circulating C-peptide and leptin concentrations were not clearly associated with risk of prostate cancer overall or aggressive disease. Well into the PSA era, our findings do not appear to be supportive of the hypothesis that hyperinsulinemia influences risk of total or aggressive prostate cancer.

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