Increased insulin-like growth factor-I levels in women with polycystic ovary syndrome, and beneficial effects of metformin therapy

Gynecol Endocrinol. 2004 Sep;19(3):125-33. doi: 10.1080/09513590400007309.


We aimed to investigate whether metformin would reverse the endocrinopathy of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), allowing resumption of cyclic ovulation and regular menses, and whether metformin causes any change in the serum concentration of insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) in patients with PCOS. Fifty-eight women with PCOS participated in the study and received metformin at a dose of 850 mg three times a day (total 2550 mg) for 16 weeks. Serum concentrations of luteinizing hormone, follicle stimulating hormone, estradiol, free testosterone, total testosterone, 17-hydroxyprogesterone, dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate, fasting insulin, IGF-I, sex hormone binding globulin and insulin-like growth factor binding protein-1 (IGFBP-1) were evaluated before and after metformin treatment. Patients were divided into two groups as responders and non-responders according to the achievement of regular menstrual periods. The mean IGF-I levels decreased significantly on metformin therapy. After 16 weeks of metformin treatment, 55.17% of PCOS patients achieved regular menses. Only the change in serum levels of progesterone and IGF-I on metformin were statistically significant between responders and non-responders; metformin-induced decremental change in IGF-I levels were greater in responders. In conclusion, we observed that elevated IGF-I levels may have a crucial role in many consequences of PCOS in addition to hyperinsulinemia. By decreasing insulin and IGF-I levels, metformin therapy offers additional beneficial effects in resumption of regular menses. Thus, in PCOS patients with elevated levels of IGF-I, metformin may be considered as an appropriate agent to be used for the regulation of menstrual cycles.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • 17-alpha-Hydroxyprogesterone / blood
  • Adult
  • Body Mass Index
  • Dehydroepiandrosterone Sulfate / blood
  • Estradiol / blood
  • Female
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone / blood
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Insulin / blood
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor Binding Protein 1 / blood
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I / analysis*
  • Luteinizing Hormone / blood
  • Menstrual Cycle
  • Metformin / administration & dosage
  • Metformin / therapeutic use*
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / blood*
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / drug therapy*
  • Sex Hormone-Binding Globulin / analysis
  • Testosterone / blood


  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Insulin
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor Binding Protein 1
  • Sex Hormone-Binding Globulin
  • Testosterone
  • Estradiol
  • Dehydroepiandrosterone Sulfate
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I
  • 17-alpha-Hydroxyprogesterone
  • Luteinizing Hormone
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone
  • Metformin