Elevated GH/IGF-I promotes mammary tumors in high-fat, but not low-fat, fed mice.

PMID 25085903


Growth hormone (GH) and/or insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) are thought to promote breast cancer based on reports showing circulating IGF-I levels correlate, in epidemiological studies, with breast cancer risk. Also, mouse models with developmental GH/IGF-I deficiency/resistance are less susceptible to genetic- or chemical-induced mammary tumorigenesis. However, given the metabolic properties of GH, medical strategies have been considered to raise GH to improve body composition and metabolic function in elderly and obese patients. Since hyperlipidemia, inflammation, insulin resistance and obesity increase breast cancer risk, elevating GH may serve to exacerbate cancer progression. To better understand the role GH/IGF-I plays in tumor formation, this study used unique mouse models to determine if reducing GH/IGF-I in adults protects against 7,12-dimethylbenz[α]anthracene (DMBA)-induced mammary tumor development, and if moderate elevations in endogenous GH/IGF-I alter DMBA-induced tumorigenesis in mice fed a standard-chow diet or in mice with altered metabolic function due to high-fat feeding. We observed that adult-onset isolated GH-deficient mice, which also have reduced IGF-I levels, were less susceptible to DMBA-treatment. Specifically, fewer adult-onset isolated GH-deficient mice developed mammary tumors compared with GH-replete controls. In contrast, chow-fed mice with elevated endogenous GH/IGF-I (HiGH mice) were not more susceptible to DMBA-treatment. However, high-fat-fed, HiGH mice showed reduced tumor latency and increased tumor incidence compared with diet-matched controls. These results further support a role of GH/IGF-I in regulating mammary tumorigenesis but suggest the ultimate consequences of GH/IGF-I on breast tumor development are dependent on the diet and/or metabolic status.