The aromatase inhibitor letrozole in advanced breast cancer: Effects on serum insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-I and IGF-binding protein-3 levels

Emilio Bajetta, Leonardo Ferrari, Luigi Celio, Luigi Mariani, Rosalba Miceli, Angelo Di Leo, Nicoletta Zilembo, Roberto Buzzoni, Ivo Spagnoli, Antonia Martinetti, Ettore Bichisao, Ettore Seregni

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Serum insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-I and IGF-binding protein-3 levels were measured in two groups of postmenospausal women with advanced breast cancer, who received the aromatase inhibitor letrozole 0.5 or 2.5 mg p.o once daily. Blood samples were obtained from 15 patients in each dose group at baseline, and one three months after starting therapy. Circulating IGF-I and IGFBP-3 concentrations were determined by means of radioimmunoassay. In both dosage groups a statistically significant increase in the IGF-I level was observed during three months of letrozole treatment (P=0.003). In addition, the multiple testing procedure yielded in the whole patient population a significant result in the comparison between mean IGF-I values after three months of therapy and those observed at baseline (P=0.004), the estimated average increase being of 24%. No significant result was obtained in the analysis for the dose effect (P=0.077) and for the time x dose interaction (P=0.208). Circulating IGFBP-3 levels did not appear to be affected by letrozole treatment in either of the dose groups. This is the first report concerning the short-term effects of letrozole on components of the IGF system in breast cancer patients; further investigations are warranted in order to confirm these preliminary data.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)261-267
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Issue number4-6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1997


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology

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