A cross-sectional study of different patterns of oral contraceptive use among premenopausal women and circulating IGF-1: implications for disease risk
1 Prosserman Center for Health Research, Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute, Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto, Canada
2 Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada
BMC Women's Health 2011, 11:15 doi:10.1186/1472-6874-11-15Published: 20 May 2011
Insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) is important in normal growth, development, and homeostasis. Current use of oral contraceptives (OC) decreases IGF-1 concentrations; however, the effect of past use, age/timing of use, and type of OC used on IGF-1 levels is unknown. OC are the most commonly used form of birth control worldwide. Both IGF-1 and OC use have been linked to premenopausal breast and colorectal cancers, osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease (CVD). Understanding the effects of different patterns of OC use on IGF-1 levels may offer insight into its influence on disease risk in young women.
In a cross-sectional study of 328 premenopausal women ages 18 to 21 and 31 to 40 we examined the relationship between different patterns of OC use and circulating IGF-1 using adjusted linear regression analysis. Information on OC use was obtained through an interviewer administered questionnaire. Plasma IGF-1 was assessed with enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA).
Among women aged 18 to 21, ever OC use was significantly associated with decreased IGF-1 levels compared to never use (β = -57.2 ng/ml, 95% confidence interval (CI): -88.7, -25.8). Among women aged 31 to 40, past users who first used OC at 25 years of age or older (β = 43.8 ng/ml, 95% CI: 8.8, 78.8), in the last 15 years (β = 35.1 ng/ml, 95% CI: 9.3, 61.0) or after 1995 (β = 46.6 ng/ml, 95% CI: 13.4, 79.8) had significantly higher IGF-1 levels compared to never users.
This is the first study to highlight the long term effects of OC use after cessation on IGF-1 levels among premenopausal women, which previously were thought to be transitory. Future studies of past use and IGF-1 levels are required and must consider age/timing of use and type/generation of OC used. Additional studies are needed to confirm the potential mediation of IGF-1 levels in the links between OC use and health outcomes.