OBJECTIVE: To examine the relationship between body mass index (BMI) and waist-hip ratio (WHR) with serum levels of insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I), and its binding protein (IGFBP)-3. DESIGN: Cross-sectional study on 2139 women participating in a case-control study on breast cancer and endogenous hormones. Data on lifestyle and reproductive factors were collected by means of questionnaires. Body height, weight, waist and hip circumferences were measured. Serum levels of IGF-I and insulin-like binding protein (IGFBP)-3 were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. Adjusted mean levels of IGF-I and IGFBP-3 across quintiles of BMI, waist circumference, and WHR were calculated by linear regression. Results were adjusted for potential confounders associated with IGF-I and IGFBP-3. RESULTS: Adjusted mean serum IGF-I values were lower in women with BMI<22.5 kg/m(2) or BMI>29.2 kg/m(2) compared to women with BMI within this range (P(heterogeneity)<0.0001, P(trend)=0.35). Insulin-like growth factor-I was not related to WHR after adjustment for BMI. IGF-binding protein-3 was linearly positively related to waist and WHR after mutual adjustment. The molar ratio IGF-I/IGFBP-3 had a non-linear relation with BMI and a linear inverse relationship with WHR (P (trend)=0.005). CONCLUSIONS: Our data confirm the nonlinear relationship of circulating IGF-I to total adiposity in women. Serum IGFBP-3 was positively related to central adiposity. These suggest that bioavailable IGF-I levels could be lower in obese compared to non-obese women and inversely related to central adiposity.

Original publication




Journal article


Int J Obes (Lond)

Publication Date





1623 - 1631


Adult, Age Distribution, Aged, Body Mass Index, Cross-Sectional Studies, Europe, Female, Humans, Insulin-Like Growth Factor Binding Protein 3, Insulin-Like Growth Factor I, Middle Aged, Obesity, Waist-Hip Ratio