Does Growth Hormone Cause Cancer?

P. J. Jenkins; A. Mukherjee; S. M. Shalet


Clin Endocrinol. 2006;64(2):115-121. 

In This Article

Therapeutic Manipulation of the GH/IGF-1 Axis

Given the evidence to support an important role for GH and/or IGF-1 in the development and behaviour of cancers, there is increasing interest in the manipulation of this axis as a therapeutic manoeuvre. Several strategies are currently being employed to inhibit IGF-1 signalling: monoclonal antibodies against the IGF-1R inhibit breast cancer proliferation in vitro and block the mitogenic effects of exogeneous IGF-I.[8] This blockade also inhibits the in vivo growth of oestrogen-independent breast cancer cells.[8] Dominant negative mutants of the IGF-1 receptor suppress adhesion and invasion of breast cancer cell lines.[50] Antisense RNA directed against the IGF-1R inhibits colon cancer growth in vivo.[51] Selective inhibitors of the IGF-1R also inhibit proliferation and enhance apoptosis by increasing the response of tumour cells to ionizing radiation.[52] However, there remains concern as to how these peptides might function in the clinical setting in terms of cross-reactivity with the insulin receptor. The availability of pegvisomant, the growth hormone receptor antagonist, has given further impetus to this novel chemotherapeutic avenue.[53,54] In animal models of metastatic colon cancer, pegvisomant, in combination with conventional chemotherapy, virtually abolishes metastatic disease.[54]