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Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2014 Jun;23(6):976-85. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-13-1210-T. Epub 2014 Mar 19.

Insulin-like growth factor-i and risk of differentiated thyroid carcinoma in the European prospective investigation into cancer and nutrition.

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Authors' Affiliations: Cancer Epidemiology Unit; Clinical Trial Service Unit and Epidemiological Studies Unit, Nuffield Department of Population Health, University of Oxford, Oxford; The School of Public Health; Department of Epidemiology and Biotatistics, School of Public Health, Imperial College London, London; Department of Public Health and Primary Care; MRC Epidemiology Unit, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom; Department of Surgery, Lund University Hospital, Lund; Malmö Diet and Cancer Study, Lund University, Malmö; Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm; Departments of Medical Biosciences, Pathology; Surgical and Perioperative Science; and Radiation Sciences, Oncology, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden; International Agency for Research on Cancer, Lyon; Inserm, Centre for Research in Epidemiology and Population Health (CESP), U1018, Nutrition, Hormones and Women's Health Team; Université Paris Sud, UMRS 1018; Institut Gustave Roussy, Villejuif, France; Department of Hygiene and Epidemiology, University of Ioannina School of Medicine, Ioannina; WHO Collaborating Center for Food and Nutrition Policies, Department of Hygiene, Epidemiology and Medical Statistics, University of Athens Medical School; Bureau of Epidemiologic Research, Academy of Athens; Hellenic Health Foundation, Athens, Greece; Department of Community Medicine, UiT The Norwegian Arctic University, Tromsø; Department of Research, Cancer Registry of Norway, Oslo, Norway; Samfundet Folkhälsan, Helsinki, Finland; Section for Epidemiology, Department of Public Health, Aarhus University, Aarhus; Diet, Genes, and Environment, Danish Cancer Society Research Center, Copenhagen Ø, Denmark; Hormones and Cancer Group; Division of Cancer Epidemiology, German Cancer Research Center, Heidelberg; Department of Epidemiology, German Institute of Human Nutrition Potsdam-Rehbrücke, Nuthetal, Germany; Department of Epidemiology, Harvard School of Pu



Little is known about the causes of thyroid cancer, but insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) might play an important role in its development due to its mitogenic and antiapoptotic properties.


This study prospectively investigated the association between serum IGF-I concentrations and risk of differentiated thyroid carcinoma in a case-control study nested within the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition. The 345 incident cases of differentiated thyroid carcinoma were individually matched to 735 controls by study center, sex and age, date, time, and fasting status at blood collection, follow-up duration, and for women menopausal status, use of exogenous hormones, and phase of menstrual cycle at blood collection. Serum IGF-I concentrations were measured by immunoassay, and risk of differentiated thyroid cancer in relation to IGF-I concentration was estimated using conditional logistic regression.


There was a positive association between IGF-I concentrations and risk of differentiated thyroid carcinoma: the OR for a doubling in IGF-I concentration was 1.48 (95% confidence interval, 1.06-2.08; Ptrend = 0.02). The positive association with IGF-I was stable over time between blood collection and cancer diagnosis.


These findings suggest that IGF-I concentrations may be positively associated with risk of differentiated thyroid carcinoma.


This study provides the first prospective evidence of a potential association between circulating IGF-I concentrations and risk of differentiated thyroid carcinoma and may prompt the further investigations needed to confirm the association.

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