Role of the growth hormone-IGF-1 axis in cancer

Yash Chhabra, Michael J. Waters, Andrew J. Brooks

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


A substantial body of evidence supports a role for the growth hormone (GH)-IGF-1 axis in cancer incidence and progression. This includes epidemiological evidence relating elevated plasma IGF-1 to cancer incidence as well as a lack of cancers in GH/IGF-1 deficiency. Rodent models lacking GH or its receptor are strikingly resistant to the induction of a wide range of cancers, and treatment with the GH antagonist pegvisomant slows tumor progression. While GH receptor expression is elevated in many cancers, autocrine GH is present in several types, and overexpression of autocrine GH can induce cell transformation. While the mechanism of autocrine action is not clear, it does involve both STAT5 and STAT3 activation, and probably nuclear translocation of the GH receptor. Development of a more potent GH receptor antagonist or secretion inhibitor is warranted for cancer therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)71-84
Number of pages14
JournalExpert Review of Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • GH receptor
  • autocrine GH
  • breast cancer
  • colon cancer
  • epidemiology
  • growth hormone
  • insulin-like growth factor-1
  • nuclear GH receptor
  • prolactin
  • prostate cancer
  • signal transducer and activator of transcription-5

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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