Insulin-like growth factor, insulin-like growth factor-binding protein-4, and pregnancy-associated plasma protein-A gene expression in human granulosa cell tumors

Int J Gynecol Cancer. Nov-Dec 2006;16(6):1973-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1525-1438.2006.00724.x.


The insulin-like growth factor (IGF) system plays an important role in folliculogenesis. It is also thought to contribute to the pathogenesis of many cancers, including those of the ovarian epithelium. In the human follicle, the predominant IGF is IGF-II and its actions are modulated by insulin-like growth factor-binding protein-4 (IGFBP-4), the IGFBP-4 protease, and the pregnancy-associated plasma protein-A (PAPP-A). These peptide components are synthesized by the granulosa cells of the developing follicle. The aim of this study was to characterize the expression of these components of the IGF system in granulosa cell tumors (GCT) of the ovary. IGF-I, IGF-II, IGFBP-4, and PAPP-A gene expression was determined in a panel of GCT and compared to the levels in normal ovary and in epithelial ovarian tumors. Although both the IGF-I and IGF-II genes were expressed in the GCT, the levels were lower than in the other tissue groups. IGFBP-4 expression was also low in the GCT, whereas PAPP-A gene expression was highest in the GCT. These findings were unexpected given the prominent role this signaling system plays in normal granulosa cells. In conclusion, these observations suggest that the IGF system may have a limited role in the pathogenesis of GCT with PAPP-A subserving a function other than IGFBP-4 proteolysis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic / genetics*
  • Granulosa Cell Tumor / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor Binding Protein 4 / genetics*
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I / genetics*
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor II / genetics*
  • Middle Aged
  • Pregnancy-Associated Plasma Protein-A / genetics*
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics


  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor Binding Protein 4
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor II
  • Pregnancy-Associated Plasma Protein-A