Baglietto L, English DR, Hopper JL, Morris HA, Tilley WD, Giles GG (2007) Circulating insulin-like growth factor-I and binding protein-3 and the risk of breast cancer. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 16:763-768
Four meta-analyses and literature reviews have concluded that a positive association exists between circulating levels of insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) and IGF-binding protein-3 (IGFBP-3) and breast cancer risk for premenopausal but not postmenopausal women. Recently, a large prospective study reported an association with IGF-I and IGFBP-3 concentration for breast cancer diagnosed after, but not before, the age of 50 years; and in a large cohort of primarily premenopausal women, IGF-I and IGFBP-3 were not associated with breast cancer risk. We did a case-cohort study within the Melbourne Collaborative Cohort Study, which included a random sample of 1,901 women (subcohort) and 423 breast cancer cases diagnosed during a mean of 9.1 years of follow-up. IGF-I and IGFBP-3 concentrations were measured in plasma collected at baseline. The association between quartiles of IGF concentration and breast cancer risk was tested using a Cox model adjusted for known and potential confounders. The hazard ratio (HR) for breast cancer comparing the fourth with the first quartiles was 1.20 [95% confidence interval (95% CI), 0.87-1.65] for IGF-I and 1.09 (95% CI, 0.78-1.53) for IGFBP-3. Both associations varied with age: for IGF-I, the HRs for breast cancer comparing the fourth with the first quartiles were 0.60 (95% CI, 0.25-1.45) before age 50 and 1.61 (95% CI, 1.04-2.51) after age 60 (test for the log-linear trend of HR according to age, P = 0.05); for IGFBP-3, the HRs were 0.79 (95% CI, 0.34-1.83) before age 50 and 1.62 (95% CI, 1.03-2.55) after age 60 (test for log-linear trend, P = 0.08). IGF-I and IGFBP-3 were positively associated with breast cancer risk in older women but not in younger women. More prospective studies are needed to clarify the age dependence of the association between IGF-I and IGFBP-3 and breast cancer.