Use of hormones in doping and cancer risk

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.

Original document


1 November 2019
Baldelli, G.
Brandi, G.
Santi, M.
Other organisations
Gruppo di lavoro Scienzer Motorie per la Salute della Società Italiana di Igiene (GSMS-SItI) - Working Group on Movement Sciences for Health, Italian Society of Hygiene Preventive Medicine and Public Health
Working Group Doping Prevention Project (WDPP)
Doping classes
S2. Peptide Hormones, Growth Factors
Growth hormone (GH)
Insulin-like Growth Factor-1 (IGF-1)
Medical terms
Health effects
Document category
Scientific article
Document type
Pdf file
Date generated
17 October 2019
Date of last modification
21 October 2019
  • Legal Source
  • Education
  • Science
  • Statistics
  • History
Country & language
  • Country
  • Language
Other filters
  • ADRV
  • Legal Terms
  • Sport/IFs
  • Other organisations
  • Laboratories
  • Analytical aspects
  • Doping classes
  • Substances
  • Medical terms
  • Various
  • Version
  • Document category
  • Document type
Publication period