Circulating levels of insulin-like growth factor-II and IGF-binding protein 3 in cervical cancer

Gynecol Oncol. 2003 Dec;91(3):486-93. doi: 10.1016/j.ygyno.2003.08.023.


Objective: We aimed to further document that elevated levels of circulating insulin-like growth factor II (IGF-II) are associated with cervical cancer and to test the hypothesis that there may be an inverse association between IGF-II and IGF-binding protein 3 (IGF-BP3).

Methods: Serum IGF-II and IGF-BP3 levels were measured, using ELISA kits (Diagnostic Systems Laboratories), in 23 controls; 16 ASC-US with normal biopsies; 14 ASC-US with advanced CIN; 2 pretherapy CIN-I; 8 successfully treated CIN-I; 24 persistent CIN I; 14 pretherapy CIN II/III; 10 posttherapy CIN II/III with normal biopsies; 18 persistent CIN-II/III; 7 with pretherapy cervical cancer; 19 with posttherapy cervical cancer under remission; 15 with posttherapy persistent/recurrent cervical cancer; 10 with persistent ovarian or endometrial cancer; and 3 with endometrial or vulvar with cervical cancer. Student's t test and linear regression analysis were used.

Results: Compared to controls (493 +/- 90 ng/ml) and women with other gynecological cancers, serum IGF-II levels were significantly increased in women with ASC-US, with advanced CIN on biopsy (P < 0.0001), persistent CIN-I (993 +/- 262 ng/ml; P < 0.0001), pretherapy advanced CIN (1086 +/- 240; P < 0.0001), pretherapy cervical cancer patients (1746 +/- 318 ng/ml; P < 0.0001) and posttherapy persistent/recurrent CIN (1094 +/- 300; P < 0.0001); and cervical cancer (1395 +/- 189; P < 0.0001). After therapy, the IGF-II levels returned to normal in both CIN and cervical cancer patients under remission. Elevated serum IGF-II levels had 100% sensitivity and 87% specificity for cervical cancer and 81% sensitivity and 82% specificity for CIN. The levels of IGF-BP3 were significantly reduced in women with CIN before and after therapy (P < 0.0001) and in cervical cancer patients before and after therapy (P < 0.001). There was an inverse relationship between serum IGF-II and BP-3 levels (P < 0.01). Decreased serum IGF-BP3 levels had a sensitivity of 72% and specificity of 75% for cervical cancer and 81% sensitivity and 83% specificity for CIN. When both markers were considered together the sensitivity was 72% and specificity 84% for cervical cancer, while for CIN, the sensitivity was 57% and specificity 81%.

Conclusion: Serum IGF-II may be a reliable marker for early diagnosis and monitoring therapy efficacy (sensitivity and specificity of 100% versus normal controls), while IGF-BP3 levels can be reliably used to predict prognosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers, Tumor / blood*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / blood*
  • Cervical Intraepithelial Neoplasia / blood*
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor Binding Protein 3 / metabolism*
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor II / metabolism*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / blood*


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