Serum insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-I, IGF binding protein (IGFBP)-3, leptin concentrations and insulin resistance in benign and malignant epithelial ovarian tumors in postmenopausal women

Gynecol Endocrinol. 2008 Mar;24(3):117-21. doi: 10.1080/09513590801895559.


Aims: The aims of the present study were to determine the serum concentrations of insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I), insulin-like growth factor binding protein-3 (IGFBP-3) and leptin and insulin resistance in benign and malignant epithelial ovarian tumors, and to discuss the use of these markers in benign-malignant tumor differentiation.

Methods: Forty-seven postmenopausal women with ovarian tumor and 31 age-matched, postmenopausal, healthy controls were included in this study. Insulin resistance index by homeostasis model assessment (HOMA score) and fasting blood glucose (FBG), serum IGF-I, IGFBP-3, leptin and CA-125 concentrations were determined in all patients preoperatively. The results were evaluated according to postoperative histopathology results.

Results: According to postoperative histopathology results, the patients were divided into malignant (n = 23), benign (n = 24) and control (n = 31) groups. There were no differences among the groups in relation to age, body mass index, FBG and HOMA score (p > 0.05). Serum concentrations of CA-125 were elevated in the malignant group compared with the benign ovarian tumor and control groups (p < 0.05). In contrast, serum IGF-I concentrations were significantly decreased in patients with malignant and benign ovarian tumors compared with controls (p < 0.05). Serum IGFBP-3 concentrations were also found to be lower in women with malignant ovarian tumors than in women with benign tumors (p < 0.05). Serum leptin did not differ among patients with malignant-benign tumors and controls (p > 0.05).

Conclusion: Serum leptin and HOMA score have not been found to be valid indicators in ovarian tumors. However, the present data suggest that low concentrations of IGF-I and IGFBP-3 could be a reliable marker to differentiate benign from malignant ovarian tumors. Further experimental studies are warranted to understand the impact of the IGF-I system in ovarian carcinogenesis.

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers, Tumor / blood
  • CA-125 Antigen / blood
  • Female
  • Homeostasis
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor Binding Protein 3 / blood*
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I / analysis*
  • Leptin / blood*
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Neoplasms, Glandular and Epithelial / blood*
  • Neoplasms, Glandular and Epithelial / pathology
  • Neoplasms, Glandular and Epithelial / physiopathology
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / blood*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / pathology
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / physiopathology
  • Postmenopause / blood*


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • CA-125 Antigen
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor Binding Protein 3
  • Leptin
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I