Growth Factor and Cancer


Anchor lead: Some cancers are associated with an increased level of a growth factor in the blood, Elizabeth Tracey reports

Insulin like growth factor one, abbreviated IGF1, is a hormone that helps children grow, but is also associated with certain cancers. Now a very large European study has shown just which cancers are impacted. William Nelson, director of the Kimmel Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, explains.

Nelson: They looked at 30 different types of cancer. I think 23,000 or more developed a cancer in that observation time. What they found was an increased risk with higher IGF1 levels for colorectal cancer, breast cancer, and prostate cancer. Now each of these had been indicted if you will as being associated by smaller studies, so this confirms that on a larger scale. They did not see an association with lung cancer, bladder cancer, pancreatic cancer, that was one to question, endometrial cancer, that’s cancer of the uterus, or kidney cancer.  :32

Nelson notes that even the authors of the study are uncertain about why the growth factor is associated with some cancers and not others. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.