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J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2001 Feb;86(2):694-9.

Insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) and IGF-binding protein-3 in benign prostatic hyperplasia and prostate cancer.

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Diagnostics Systems Laboratories, Inc., Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5G 1X5.


In view of evidence indicating significant involvement of the insulin-like growth factor (IGF) system in the pathogenesis of prostate cancer, we measured serum IGF-I and IGF-binding protein-3 (IGFBP-3) in men with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH; n = 75) or prostatic carcinoma (CaP; n = 84). The age-matched patient populations were selected to have circulating prostate-specific antigen (PSA), the most reliable predictor of CaP, in the overlapping diagnostic gray zone range of approximately 4--10 microg/L. Of particular interest was investigation of intact, fragment, and total IGFBP-3 levels in relation to PSA, which is also a well established IGFBP-3 protease. Among the key findings were significantly higher IGF-I and intact IGFBP-3 levels in CaP vs. BPH (P < 0.001), whereas changes in fragment and total IGFBP-3 were statistically insignificant. As expected, total PSA levels were similar in the two groups of patients (P = 0.173), whereas free PSA levels were significantly lower in those with CaP (P < 0.001). IGF-I and IGFBP-3 (intact and total) correlated significantly (P = 0.024 to <0.001) and inversely (r = -0.26 to -0.35) with free PSA in BPH, but not in CaP, and no correlations were found in comparisons involving total PSA. Statistical analysis of the various markers and their combinations indicated enhanced performance of IGF-I/free PSA [receiver operating characteristics area under the curve (AUC) = 0.728] and intact IGFBP-3/free PSA (AUC = 0.737) ratios in discriminating between BPH and CaP compared with the currently used free/total PSA ratio (AUC = 0.689). Multivariate logistic regression models confirmed the observed relationships and identified IGF-I/free PSA and intact IGFBP-3/free PSA as independent factors in predicting the presence of CaP. We conclude that increases in IGF-I and intact IGFBP-3 levels are positively associated with the presence of CaP in this group of patients with low to moderately elevated PSA, and that their measurements in relation to PSA may help improve diagnostic discrimination between BPH and prostate cancer.

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