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BACKGROUND: Circulating total insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) is an established risk factor for prostate cancer. However, only a small proportion of circulating IGF-I is free or readily dissociable from IGF-binding proteins (its bioavailable form), and few studies have investigated the association of circulating free IGF-I with prostate cancer risk. METHODS: We analyzed data from 767 prostate cancer cases and 767 matched controls nested within the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition cohort, with an average of 14-years (interquartile range = 2.9) follow-up. Matching variables were study center, length of follow-up, age, and time of day and fasting duration at blood collection. Circulating free IGF-I concentration was measured in serum samples collected at recruitment visit (mean age 55 years old; standard deviation = 7.1) using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Conditional logistic regressions were performed to examine the associations of free IGF-I with risk of prostate cancer overall and subdivided by time to diagnosis (≤ 14 and > 14 years), and tumor characteristics. RESULTS: Circulating free IGF-I concentrations (in fourths and as a continuous variable) were not associated with prostate cancer risk overall (odds ratio [OR] = 1.00 per 0.1 nmol/L increment, 95% CI: 0.99, 1.02) or by time to diagnosis, or with prostate cancer subtypes, including tumor stage and histological grade. CONCLUSIONS: Estimated circulating free IGF-I was not associated with prostate cancer risk. Further research may consider other assay methods that estimate bioavailable IGF-I to provide more insight into the well-substantiated association between circulating total IGF-I and subsequent prostate cancer risk.

Original publication




Journal article


BMC Cancer

Publication Date





Aggressiveness, Free IGF-1, Histological grade, Prostate cancer, Tumor stage, Humans, Male, Prostatic Neoplasms, Insulin-Like Growth Factor I, Middle Aged, Case-Control Studies, Prospective Studies, Europe, Aged, Risk Factors, Biomarkers, Tumor, Insulin-Like Peptides