Aim: To investigate the roles of serum insulin, insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), and insulin-like growth factor binding proteins (IGFBPs) in the initiation and progression of colorectal cancer.
Methods: We determined serum insulin, IGF-1 and IGFBPs levels in 615 colorectal cancer patients and 650 control healthy donors by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). In the meantime, their body mass index (BMI) and waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) were measured.
Results: Serum levels of insulin and IGF-1 as well as IGF-1/IGFBP-3 ratio in pre-operation patients were significantly elevated, but the level of IGFBP-3 was significantly decreased compared with normal controls and post-operation patients (P < 0.05 and P < 0.001, respectively). There is no significant difference (P > 0.05) in the levels of insulin, IGF-1, IGFBP-1, IGFBP-3 and IGF-1/IGFBP-3 between the patients with and without hepatic as well as distal abdominal metastases. WHR and BMI of colon cancer patients were positively and significantly correlated with the levels of insulin and IGF-1/IGFBP-3. In contrast, WHR and BMI were negatively correlated with IGFBP-3 level.
Conclusion: The elevation of insulin, IGF-1 as well as IGF-1/IGFBP-3 ratio and the reduction of IGFBP-3 may be related to the initiation of colorectal cancer, but they are not related to the progression and outcome of the disease.
Keywords: Colorectal cancer; Insulin; Insulin-like growth factor binding protein-3; Insulin-like growth factor-1; Insulin-like growth factor-1/insulin-like growth factor binding protein-3 ratio.