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Br J Cancer. 2006 Jul 3;95(1):112-7.

Insulin-like growth factors and cancer: no role in screening. Evidence from the BUPA study and meta-analysis of prospective epidemiological studies.

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Centre for Environmental and Preventive Medicine, Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine, Barts and The London Queen Mary's School of Medicine and Dentistry, Charterhouse Square, London EC1M 6BQ, UK.


Insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), insulin-like growth factor-2 (IGF-2), and insulin-like growth factor binding protein-3 (IGFBP-3) were measured in frozen serum samples from 1051 men with cancer and 3142 controls in a nested case-control study from the British United Provident Association (BUPA) study cohort and associations with 14 cancers were examined, including prostate, colorectal, and lung. A meta-analysis of studies on these three cancer sites was also conducted. In the meta-analysis the odds ratio between the highest quartile IGF-1 group and the lowest quartile group was 1.31 (95% confidence interval (CI): 1.03-1.67) for prostate, 1.37 (1.05-1.78) for colorectal and 1.02 (0.80-1.31) for lung cancer, and for IGF-2 it was 0.72 (0.36-1.44) for prostate and 1.95 (1.26-3.00) for colorectal cancer. Results from the BUPA study were consistent with the estimates from the other studies. There were no statistically significant associations with IGFBP-3 and any of the cancer sites considered. Our results suggest that IGF-1, IGF-2, and IGFBP-3 measurements have no value in cancer screening, although IGF-1 and IGF-2 may be of aetiological significance in relation to colorectal and prostate cancer.

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