Sex hormones, insulin, and insulin-like growth factors in recurrence of high-stage endometrial cancer

Melissa A. Merritt, Howard D. Strickler, Alan D. Hutson, Mark H. Einstein, Thomas E. Rohan, Xiaonan Xue, Mark E. Sherman, Louise A. Brinton, Herbert Yu, David S. Miller, Nilsa C. Ramirez, Heather A. Lankes, Michael J. Birrer, Gloria S. Huang, Marc J. Gunter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The influence of sex hormone and insulin/insulinlike growth factor (IGF) axis signaling on endometrial cancer recurrence is unknown. We evaluated these pathways in a prospective cohort of Gynecologic Oncology Group (GOG)0210 trial endometrial adenocarcinoma patients. Methods: Stage II-IV patients (N = 816) were included in this study. Pretreatment specimens were tested for tumor mRNA and protein expression of IGF1, IGF2, IGF-binding proteins (IGFBP)-1 and -3, insulin (IR) and IGF-I receptors (IGF1R), phosphorylated IR/IGF1R (pIGF1R/pIR), and estrogen (ER) and progesterone receptors (PR) using qPCR and IHC. Serum concentrations of insulin, IGF-I, IGFBP-3, estradiol, estrone, and sex hormone binding globulin were measured. HRs and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for progression-free survival were calculated from Cox models adjusting for age, stage, and grade. Results: Recurrence occurred in 280 (34%) cases during a median of 4.6 years of follow-up. ER positivity (HR, 0.67; 95% CI, 0.47- 0.95), IR positivity (HR, 0.53; 95% CI, 0.29-0.98), and circulating IGF-I (highest vs. lowest quartile: HR, 0.66; 95% CI, 0.47-0.92) were inversely associated with recurrence risk. Circulating estradiol (highest vs. lowest tertile: HR, 1.55; 95% CI, 1.02-2.36) and pIGF1R/pIR positivity (HR, 1.40; 95% CI, 1.02-1.92) were associated with increased recurrence risk. Conclusions: Circulating estradiol and tumor tissue phosphorylated (activated) IGR1R/IR were independently associated with higher risk of recurrence in patients with endometrial cancer. Impact: This study may inform future clinical trials of endocrinetargeted adjuvant therapies in patients with endometrial cancer that could include baseline assessment of serum and tissue biomarkers of estradiol and insulin signaling pathways.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)719-726
Number of pages8
JournalCancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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