HGH And Cancer
Study Abstract Does growth hormone cause cancer? Researchers Jenkins PJ1, Mukherjee A, Shalet SM.
This study reviewed the link between HGH and cancer. It used available experimental data and extensive epidemiological data. The results of this study showed that “Epidemiological studies of patients with acromegaly indicate an increased risk of colorectal cancer, although risk of other cancers is unproven, and a long-term follow-up study of children deficient in GH treated with pituitary-derived GH has indicated an increased risk of colorectal cancer, although risk of other cancers is unproven, and a long-term follow-up study of children deficient in GH treated with pituitary-derived GH has indicated an increased risk of colorectal cancer.”
The experimental evidence of HGH or IGF-1 shows an anti-apoptotic environment that could lead to genetically damaged cells, therefore a study would require longer-term surveillance of HGH injections along with controlling all of the other components to see if there truly is a link between HGH and cancer. The study concluded that even if there was a small increase in the risk of developing cancer compared to benefits provided in HGH deficiency treatments, it is likely the morbidity of untreated GH deficiency would be equal to the increase in risk of morbidity by cancer.
Human Growth Hormone Linked to Cancer – Further Studies Link HGH to Cancer
According to other medical researchers studies at Harvard, a link between HGH and breast, prostate and colon cancer has been established.
“If further studies confirm these findings, blood levels of the growth factor and its binding protein might be used to identify people at the highest risk for these cancers and, therefore, who might benefit most from lifestyle changes and other means of prevention,” says Jing Ma, an instructor in medicine at Harvard Medical School. Also, future work on the binding protein could lead to new drugs for treating colorectal, breast, and prostate tumors in their earliest stages.
Harvard & Channing Laboratory Study
For children to grow properly, the growth factor, known as IGF- 1, is needed, but studies of men/women over the age of 40 find that HGH may be linked to the growth of tumors. Channing Laboratory in Boston, along with Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, and at the Harvard School of Public Health conducted these studies
Researchers recently announced the results of a six-year study that involved 32,826 nurses. The ones with the highest levels of IGF-1 were two and half times more likely to develop colon cancer. The study also found that when there were high levels of IGFBP-3 had the opposite effect. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19810099)
Another study found in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute also saw an increase in the risk of cancer. This study involved 14,916 male physicians and what it concluded that those with the highest IGF-1 and lowest IGFBP-3 had a higher risk of colorectal cancer, after accounting for the differences in height, weight, alcohol intake, and other known risk factors.
“The fact that these two large studies give the same results for both men and women increases our confidence in the findings,” notes Edward Giovannucci, an assistant professor of medicine who led the nurses’ study. Giovannucci is also assistant professor in the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health.
This study showed that men with the highest levels of IGF-1 were four times more likely to develop prostate cancer than those who had the lowest levels.
Another Channing Laboratory team concluded that premenopausal women with high IGF-1 levels have more than double the relative risk of breast cancer. Younger women are at greatest risk. This team was led by Susan Hankinson, an assistant professor of epidemiology at the School of Public Health and an assistant professor of medicine at the Medical School. All of these studies used blood samples that were collected 32,826 nurses and 14,916 physicians between 1982 and 1990, none of which had cancer at the time.
HGH – Slowing Aging – Cancer
The use of HGH to slow the aging process has been cause for concern. The increase of growth hormone will increase IGF-1. One HGH study included 12 men, between the ages of 61 to 81, received growth hormone three times a week. After 6-months, their blood showed HGH levels of men who were 10 to 20 years younger, which lead to an increase in muscle mass, decrease in body fat and a thickening of skin.
Another study involved 27 women, between the ages of 62 to 82 years old, who took HGH, resulting in a decrease in fat and it protected against bone loss. As a result, there was a release of media reports that suggested science had discovered how to stall, or reverse, signs of aging.
However, these studies had concerns. There were indications that increasing HGH could also increase the risk of specific cancers. According to the researchers at Harvard University, it is advisable to not take HGH if you are healthy. Researchers have found that even though there was an increase in muscle mass there was no increase in muscle strength and.
“We would advise healthy people not to take the hormone,” Ma says. “Our studies raise concern that giving it over long periods will increase the risk of prostate and colorectal cancers.”
What Happens When There is too Much Growth
According to Giovannucci, one of the Harvard researchers, when HGH is given to children it stimulates the development of the organs, but when it is given to older individuals; rapidly proliferating cells can cause genetic mutations, which can cause cancer. Once cancer cells start to form, IGF-1 will promote the growth of normal and cancerous cells. The Harvard study also found that there is evidence that connects HGH use with a condition called acromegaly, where hands, feet and facial features become enlarged. Acromegalics have an abnormally high colorectal cancer rate, because IGF-1 levels can be up as much as 10 times higher than in normal people.
“The levels of IGF-1 implicated in increased risks for cancer among middle-aged and older nurses and physicians in our studies are not as high as those in acromegalics or abnormally tall people,” Giovannucci explains. “Rather they are at the high end of what we would consider a normal range.”
IGF-1 is a major determinant of taller people, because they are a higher risk for prostate, colorectal, and breast cancer. It is possible those individuals who grow tall, because of the higher levels of IGF-1 during childhood/adolescence, have been found to have a much higher risk of cancer when they are adults.
While it is too early to establish if a test that is based on blood levels of IGF-1/IGFBP-3 will be able to tell who is going to develop breast, prostate, or colorectal cancer. The Harvard research needs to be confirmed by additional studies that are larger.
At the same time, there are drug companies and other researchers looking at how feasible it would be to design new cancer drugs based on IGF-1/IGFBP-3 activity. Harvard researchers are currently looking at the role of diet, alcohol consumption, physical activity and IGF-1/IGFBP-3 levels.
Human Growth Hormone Linked to Cancer Conclusion
While there is not enough research to make a firm conclusion that higher HGH levels, especially in older adults, may prove to increase the risk of cancer; however, without further studies it is too early to make a solid conclusion.