Serum markers, obesity and prostate cancer risk: results from the prostate cancer prevention trial

Cindy H. Chau, Cathee Till, Douglas K. Price, Phyllis J. Goodman, Marian L. Neuhouser, Michael N. Pollak, Ian M. Thompson, William D. Figg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Molecular mechanisms linking obesity to prostate cancer involve steroid hormone and insulin/insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF1) pathways. We investigated the association of circulating serum markers (e.g. androgens and IGFs/IGFBPs) with BMI and in modifying the association of obesity with prostate cancer risk. Data and specimens for this nested case-control study are from the Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial, a randomized, placebo-controlled trial of finasteride for prostate cancer prevention. Presence or absence of cancer was determined by prostate biopsy. Serum samples were assayed for sex steroid hormone concentrations and IGF1 axis analytes. Logistic regression estimated odds ratio and 95% CIs for risk of overall, low-grade (Gleason 2-6), and high-grade (Gleason 7-10) cancers. We found significant associations between BMI with serum steroids and IGFs/IGFBPs; the IGF1 axis was significantly associated with several serum steroids. Serum steroid levels did not affect the association of BMI with prostate cancer risk; however, IGFBP2 and IGFs modified the association of obesity with low- and high-grade disease. While serum steroids and IGFs/IGFBPs are associated with BMI, only the IGF1 axis contributed to obesity-related prostate cancer risk. Understanding the biological mechanisms linking obesity to prostate cancer risk as it relates to circulating serum markers will aid in developing effective prostate cancer prevention strategies and treatments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-109
Number of pages11
JournalEndocrine-Related Cancer
Issue number2
StatePublished - 20 Jan 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • BMI
  • insulin/insulin-like growth factor-1
  • obesity
  • prostate cancer risk
  • sex steroids


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