IGF-1 and breast cancer risk
This summary table contains detailed information about research studies. Summary tables are a useful way to look at the science behind many breast cancer guidelines and recommendations. However, to get the most out of the tables, it’s important to understand some key concepts. Learn how to read a research table.
Introduction: Insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) is a hormone in the body. It plays an important role in growth and development.
Studies have found higher levels of IGF-1 in the blood may increase the risk of breast cancer.
Although there’s no standard way to measure blood levels of IGF-1 now, someday, measures of blood levels of IGF-1 may help estimate breast cancer risk.
Learn more about IGF-1 and breast cancer risk.
See how this risk factor compares with other risk factors for breast cancer.
Study selection criteria: Prospective cohort studies and nested case-control studies with at least 300 breast cancer cases, and pooled analyses.
Table note: Relative risk above 1 indicates increased risk. Relative risk below 1 indicates decreased risk.
Relative Risk of Breast Cancer in Women with Higher versus Lower IGF-1 Levels,
|Prospective cohort studies|
|UK Biobank |
Nested case-control studies
Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study 
Nurses’ Health Study II 
Kaaks et al. 
Melbourne Collaborative Cohort Study 
Gronbaek et al. 
Nurses’ Health Study 
Vatten et al. 
Cancer Prevention Study II Nutrition Cohort 
Renehan et al. 
Shi et al. 
Sugumar et al. 
- Murphy N, Knuppel A, Papadimitriou N, et al. Insulin-like growth factor-1, insulin-like growth factor-binding protein-3, and breast cancer risk: observational and Mendelian randomization analyses with ∼430 000 women. Ann Oncol. 31(5):641-649, 2020.
- Kaaks R, Johnson T, Tikk K, et al. for European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) cohort. Insulin-like growth factor I and risk of breast cancer by age and hormone receptor status-A prospective study within the EPIC cohort. Int J Cancer. 134(11):2683-90, 2014.
- Gunter MJ, Hoover DR, Yu H, et al. Insulin, insulin-like growth factor-I, and risk of breast cancer in postmenopausal women. J Natl Cancer Inst. 101(1):48-60, 2009.
- Schernhammer ES, Holly JM, Pollak MN, Hankinson SE. Circulating levels of insulin-like growth factors, their binding proteins, and breast cancer risk. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 14(3):699-704, 2005.
- Kaaks R, Lundin E, Manjer J, et al. Prospective study of IGF-I, IGF-binding proteins, and breast cancer risk, in Northern and Southern Sweden. Cancer Causes Controls. 13:307-316, 2002.
- Baglietto L, English DR, Hopper JL, Morris HA, Tilley WD, Giles GG. Circulating insulin-like growth factor-I and binding protein-3 and the risk of breast cancer. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 16(4):763-8, 2007.
- Gronbaek H, Flyvbjerg A, Mellemkjaer L, et al. Serum insulin-like growth factors, insulin-like growth factor binding proteins, and breast cancer risk in postmenopausal women. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 13(11 Pt 1):1759-64, 2004.
- Hankinson SE, Willett WC, Colditz GA, et al. Circulating concentrations of insulin-like growth factor-I and risk of breast cancer. Lancet. 351:1393-1396, 1998.
- Vatten LJ, Holly JM, Gunnell D, Tretli S. Nested case-control study of the association of circulating levels of serum insulin-like growth factor I and insulin-like growth factor binding protein 3 with breast cancer in young women in Norway. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 17(8):2097-100, 2008.
- Gaudet MM, Patel AV, Teras LR, et al. Obesity-related markers and breast cancer in CPS-II Nutrition Cohort. Int J Mol Epidemiol Genet. 4(3):156-66, 2013.
- Key TJ, Appleby PN, Reeves GK, Roddam AW for the Endogenous Hormones and Breast Cancer Collaborative Group. Insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF1), IGF binding protein 3 (IGFBP3), and breast cancer risk: pooled individual data analysis of 17 prospective studies. Lancet Oncol. 11(6):530-42, 2010.
- Renehan AG, Zwahlen M, Minder C, O’Dwyer ST, Shalet SM, Egger M. Insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-I, IGF binding protein-3, and cancer risk: systematic review and meta-regression analysis. Lancet. 363(9418):1346-7, 2004.
- Shi R, Yu H, McLarty J, Glass J. IGF-I and breast cancer: a meta-analysis. Int J Cancer. 111(3):418-23, 2004.
- Sugumar A, Liu YC, Xia Q, et al. Insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-I and IGF-binding protein 3 and the risk of premenopausal breast cancer: a meta-analysis of literature. Int J Cancer. 111(2):293-7, 2004.