Use of hormones in doping and cancer risk / M. De Santi, G. Baldelli, G. Brandi, GSMS-SItI, WDPP. - (Annali di igiene : medicina preventiva e di comunità 31 (2019) 6 (November/December); p. 590-594).
- PMID: 31616903.
- DOI: 10.7416/ai.2019.2319
Hormones with anabolic properties such as growth hormone (GH) and insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) are commonly abused among professional and recreational athletes to enhance physical ability. Despite their adverse effects are well-documented, the use of GH and IGF-1 has recently grown. This article highlights the anabolic activity related to mechanisms of cancer development and progression. GH/IGF-1 axis is able to activate cellular mechanisms that modulate every key stage of cancer formation and progression, such as inhibition of apoptosis, resistance to treatments, and induction of angiogenesis, metastatic process and cell proliferation. Results from pre-clinical studies and epidemiological observations in patients with an excess of GH and IGF-1 production or treated with these hormones showed a positive association with the risk to develop several types of cancer. In conclusion, athletes should be made aware that long-term treatment with doping agents might increase the risk of developing cancer, especially if associated with other licit or illicit drugs and/or high-protein diet.