A new study led by scientists from the Section of Nutrition and Metabolism of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) provides strong evidence that higher circulating levels of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) in the bloodstream may have a causal role in the development of colorectal cancer. The study was published in the journal Gastroenterology on 27 December 2019.
In the largest epidemiological study of its kind conducted to date, the researchers investigated associations between circulating IGF-1 levels and risk of colorectal cancer in a prospective cohort of 397 380 participants in the UK Biobank, among whom 2665 incident cases of colorectal cancer were diagnosed during the follow-up period.
Using genetic data from 52 865 cases of colorectal cancer and 46 287 disease-free controls, the team also conducted Mendelian randomization analyses in which genetically predicted higher circulating IGF-1 levels were also associated with greater risk of colorectal cancer.
The results of the study suggest that targeting the IGF system through diet, lifestyle, or pharmacological interventions may be an effective strategy in the primary prevention of colorectal cancer.
Murphy N, Carreras-Torres R, Song M, Chan AT, Martin RM, Papadimitriou N, et al.
Circulating levels of insulin-like growth factor 1 and insulin-like growth factor binding protein 3 associate with risk of colorectal cancer based on serologic and Mendelian randomization analyses
Gastroenterology, Published online 27 December 2019;