Despite strong indirect evidence that androgens stimulate prostate cancer development, data from most analytical studies on this association have been negative. To further investigate this issue, we studied the interrelationships between androgenicity and insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I), insulin and leptin. Within a prospective cohort study, we measured testosterone, sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) and IGF-I, IGF-binding protein (IGFBP)-1, IGFBP-3, insulin and leptin, in plasma from 149 cases and 298 controls. Testosterone correlated positively with SHBG, whereas testosterone and SHBG correlated inversely with IGF-I, IGFBP-3, insulin, leptin and body mass index (BMI). Indices of free testosterone showed an inverse linear correlation with leptin (P<0.01), and a strong drop in the 5th quintile of BMI. However, levels of free testosterone showed non-linear relationships over quintiles of insulin and IGF-I, with a significant increase in the second quintile of IGF-I compared with other levels. The absence of an association between plasma levels of androgens and prostate cancer risk in analytical studies, despite the strong indirect evidence of their tumour-stimulating effects, may reflect the complex and mostly inverse associations of androgenicity to IGF-I, insulin and leptin which are hormones that have also been implicated as risk factors for prostate cancer.
2003. Vol. 12, no 4, 309-315 p.