Short-term effects of anastrozole treatment on insulin-like growth factor system in postmenopausal advanced breast cancer patients

L. Ferrari, A. Martinetti, N. Zilembo, P. Pozzi, R. Buzzoni, I. La Torre, L. Gattinoni, L. Catena, M. Vitali, L. Celio, E. Seregni, E. Bombardieri, E. Bajetta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Insulin-like growth factors (IGFs) play a fundamental role in cancer development by acting in both an endocrinal and paracrinal manner, and hormone breast cancer treatments affect the IGF system by modifying circulating growth factor levels. We evaluated total IGF-1, IGF-2, IGF binding protein (IGFBP)-1 and IGFBP-3 in the blood of 34 postmenopausal advanced breast cancer patients (median age 63 years, range 41-85) treated with anastrozole, a non-steroidal structure aromatase inhibitor (NSS-AI). The plasma samples were obtained at baseline, and after 2, 4, 8 and 12 weeks of treatment. The IGFs were quantitated by means of sensitive radioimmunoassays (RIAs). IGF-1 significantly increased during anastrozole treatment (baseline versus 12 weeks, P=0.031), IGF-2 showed a trend towards an increase, and IGFBP-1 constantly but not significantly decreased; IGFBP-3 did not seem to be affected at all. The anastrozole-induced changes in IGFs and IGFBP-1 appeared to be different in the patients receiving a clinical benefit from those observed in non-responders. We have previously shown that letrozole (a different type of NSS-AI) modifies blood IGF-1 levels, and the results of this study of the biological effects of anastrozole on the components of the IGF system confirm our previous observations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)411-418
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Issue number4-5
Publication statusPublished - 2002



  • Aromatase
  • Breast cancer
  • Growth factors
  • IGF-1
  • IGF-2
  • IGFBP-1
  • IGFBP-3
  • Postmenopause

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology

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