Elevated serum insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-II and IGF binding protein-2 in patients with colorectal cancer

Br J Cancer. 2000 Nov;83(10):1344-50. doi: 10.1054/bjoc.2000.1462.


This study explored the relationships of serum insulin-like growth factors, IGF-I and IGF-II, and their binding proteins (IGFBP)-2 and IGFBP-3, with key clinicopathological parameters in 92 patients with colorectal cancer (cases). Comparisons were made with 57 individuals who had a normal colonoscopy (controls). Serial changes were examined in 27 cases. As IGF-related peptides are age- and sex-dependent, absolute concentrations were converted to standard deviation scores (SDS). Mean IGF-II SDS were elevated in Dukes A (n = 12, P< 0.001) and Dukes B (n = 25, P< 0.001) cases compared with controls, but not in advanced disease. Compared with controls, mean IGFBP-2 SDS were significantly elevated in patients with Dukes B (P< 0.001), Dukes C (n = 13, P< 0.001) and advanced disease (n = 42, P< 0.0001), with a significant trend from early to advanced disease (one-way ANOVA, P< 0.001). Furthermore, IGFBP-2 SDS were positively related to tumour size (P = 0.01) and fell significantly in patients following curative resection (P = 0.04), suggesting that circulating levels reflect tumour load. We tested the potential tumour marker characteristics of IGFBP-2 SDS against three endpoints: metastasis alone; local pelvic recurrence alone; and metastasis and recurrence combined. The sensitivities for IGFBP-2 alone (>/= + 2SD) were modest at 55%, 46%, and 52%, but in combination with CEA, increased substantially to 90%, 77% and 86%, respectively. We conclude that the serum IGF-II and IGFBP-2 profiles may provide insights into underlying biological mechanisms, and that serum IGFBP-2 may have an adjunct role in cancer surveillance in patients with colorectal cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / analysis*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor Binding Protein 2 / analysis*
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor Binding Protein 3 / analysis*
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I / analysis*
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor II / analysis*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Sensitivity and Specificity


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor Binding Protein 2
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor Binding Protein 3
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor II