Breast Cancer Research and Treatment

, Volume 138, Issue 2, pp 571–579 | Cite as

Plasma IGF-1 and IGFBP-3 may be imprecise surrogates for breast concentrations: an analysis of healthy women

  • Adana A. LlanosEmail author
  • Theodore M. Brasky
  • Ramona G. Dumitrescu
  • Catalin Marian
  • Kepher H. Makambi
  • Bhaskar V. S. Kallakury
  • Scott L. Spear
  • David J. Perry
  • Rafael J. Convit
  • Mary E. Platek
  • Lucile L. Adams-Campbell
  • Jo L. Freudenheim
  • Peter G. Shields


We investigated insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-1 and IGF binding protein (IGFBP)-3 concentrations in histologically normal breast tissues and assessed their association with plasma concentrations, and breast cancer risk factors. IGF-1 and IGFBP-3 were assessed in plasma and breast tissues of 90 women with no history of any cancer and undergoing reduction mammoplasty. Pearson correlations and ANOVAs were used to describe plasma-breast associations and biomarker differences by breast cancer risk factors, respectively. Multivariable regression models were used to determine associations between risk factors, and breast IGF-1 and IGFBP-3. The mean age of the study sample was 37.3 years, 58 % were white, and generally these women were obese (mean BMI = 30.8 kg/m2). We observed no plasma-breast correlation for IGF-1, IGFBP-3, or IGF-1/IGFBP-3 (r = −0.08, r = 0.14, and r = 0.03, respectively; p-values >0.05). Through age- and BMI-adjusted analysis, BMI and years of oral contraceptive (OC) use were inversely associated with breast IGF-1 (p-values = 0.02 and 0.003, respectively) and age was associated with breast IGFBP-3 (p = 0.01), while breast IGF-1/IGFBP-3 was higher in blacks than whites (1.08 vs. 0.68, p = 0.04) and associated with age and BMI (p-values = 0.03 and 0.002, respectively). In multivariable-adjusted models, some breast cancer risk factors studied herein explained 24, 10, and 15 % of the variation in breast IGF-1, IGFBP-3, and IGF-1/IGFBP-3, respectively. While reasons for the lack of plasma-breast hormone correlations in these cancer-free women are unknown, several factors were shown to be associated with breast concentrations. The lack of correlation between blood and tissue IGF-1 and IGFBP-3 suggests that studies of breast cancer risk assessing blood IGF-1 and IGFBP-3 may have important limitations in understanding their role in breast carcinogenesis.


IGF-1 IGFBP-3 IGF-1/IGFBP-3 Breast tissues Plasma Race Oral contraceptive use 



This study was supported by an Alcohol Center of Excellence grant awarded to PGS, from the U.S. Department of Defense (Grant# DOD BC022346). The authors have no competing interests to declare.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Adana A. Llanos
    • 1
    Email author
  • Theodore M. Brasky
    • 1
  • Ramona G. Dumitrescu
    • 2
    • 3
  • Catalin Marian
    • 4
  • Kepher H. Makambi
    • 2
  • Bhaskar V. S. Kallakury
    • 2
    • 5
  • Scott L. Spear
    • 5
  • David J. Perry
    • 6
  • Rafael J. Convit
    • 6
  • Mary E. Platek
    • 7
  • Lucile L. Adams-Campbell
    • 2
  • Jo L. Freudenheim
    • 8
  • Peter G. Shields
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Population SciencesThe Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer CenterColumbusUSA
  2. 2.Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer CenterGeorgetown University Medical CenterWashingtonUSA
  3. 3.Saba University School of MedicineSabaDutch Caribbean
  4. 4.University of Medicine and Pharmacy TimisoaraTimisoaraRomania
  5. 5.MedStar Georgetown University HospitalWashingtonUSA
  6. 6.MedStar Washington Hospital CenterWashingtonUSA
  7. 7.Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human DevelopmentNew York UniversityNew YorkUSA
  8. 8.Department of Social and Preventive MedicineUniversity at Buffalo, State University of New YorkBuffaloUSA

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