Objective: Insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) and its principal binding protein-3 (IGFBP-3) are central in the mediation of the effect of growth hormone, and the IGF system has been reported to play a role in the pathogenesis of childhood leukemia.
Methods: To further evaluate the hypothesis connecting the IGF system to this disease, we have examined whether IGF-1 and IGFBP-3 are associated with the two main endogenous risk factors for childhood leukemia, namely gender and birth weight, since boys and heavier newborns are known to be at higher risk. IGF-1 and IGFBP-3 were measured under code in the serum of 118 apparently healthy children aged 0-14 years and the values of each of these components were regressed on age, gender and birth weight. Insulin-like growth factor-2 (IGF-2), as a dependent variable, and anemia during the corresponding pregnancy, as a predictor variable, were also evaluated for exploratory purposes.
Results: In the total data set, IGF-1 was positively associated with birth weight (p = 0.0001), whereas girls had higher levels of IGFBP-3 (p = 0.01).
Conclusions: It appears that the associations of measured components of the IGF system with the examined risk factors for childhood leukemia are largely compatible with those that would have been expected, if this system played a role in the pathogenesis of childhood leukemia.