Association of umbilical cord insulin-like growth factor 1 levels with severe retinopathy in extremely preterm infants

Nobuhiko Nagano, Daichi Katayama, Koichiro Hara, Takuya Akimoto, Takayuki Imaizumi, Ayako Seimiya, Ryoji Aoki, Midori Hijikata, Kazumasa Fuwa, Aya Okahashi, Ichiro Morioka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The association between umbilical cord blood insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) levels and retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) remains unclear. This study aimed to investigate whether umbilical cord blood IGF-1 levels can predict the development of severe ROP in extremely preterm infants. Methods: This hospital-based retrospective cohort study included infants born at <37 weeks gestational age (GA) between 2019 and 2021 and then classified them into the two GA groups: extremely preterm, <28 weeks and preterm infants, 28–36 weeks. Extremely preterm infants were further subclassified into two groups according to the laser treatment as follows: the severe ROP (ROP-Tx) and ROP (No ROP-Tx) groups. Median umbilical cord blood IGF-1 values were compared between the groups. Perinatal risk factors were identified by univariate and multivariate analyses. Finally, umbilical cord IGF-1 cut-off values requiring ROP treatment with laser were determined by receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analyses. Results: A total of 205 infants were enrolled, with 32 being extremely preterm (ROP-Tx: n = 11; No ROP-Tx: n = 21) and 173 being preterm. IGF-1 levels were significantly lower in extremely preterm (13.5 ng/mL) than preterm infants (36 ng/mL, p < 0.001). In extremely preterm infants, IGF-1 levels were significantly lower in the ROP-Tx group than the No ROP-Tx group (10 vs. 19 ng/mL, respectively, p = 0.024). Only GA, umbilical cord blood IGF-1 levels, birth head circumference, and birth chest circumference were identified as risk factors by univariate analysis (p < 0.05). Multivariate analysis showed that only umbilical cord blood IGF-1 was an independent risk factor (odds ratio: 1.26, p = 0.021). ROC curves revealed an IGF-1 cut-off value of 14 ng/mL. Conclusion: The need of laser treatment for ROP was found to be associated with low umbilical cord blood IGF-1 levels in extremely preterm infants. Umbilical cord blood IGF-1 can be used as a biomarker for the risk of developing severe ROP.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)126-132
Number of pages7
JournalPediatrics and Neonatology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2023


  • gestational age
  • laser treatment
  • preterm infants
  • receiver operating characteristic curve
  • retinopathy of prematurity


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