Antagonists of growth hormone-releasing hormone (GH-RH) inhibit in vivo proliferation of experimental pancreatic cancers and decrease IGF-II levels in tumours

K. Szepeshazi, A. V. Schally, K. Groot, P. Armatis, F. Hebert, G. Halmos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Insulin-like growth factors (IGF-I and IGF-II) are implicated in the pathogenesis of pancreatic carcinoma. Antagonists of growth hormone-releasing hormone (GH-RH) suppress the GH-RH-GH-IGF-I axis and also act directly on tumours to reduce production of IGF-I or II. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of two potent GH-RH antagonists in two experimental models of pancreatic cancer. Syrian golden hamsters with nitrosamine-induced pancreatic tumours were treated with 10 μg/day of GH-RH antagonist MZ-4-71 for 60 days. The therapy reduced the number of tumorous animals, decreased the weight of tumorous pancreata by 55%, and lowered AgNOR numbers in tumour cells. In two other experiments, GH-RH antagonists MZ-4-71 and MZ-5-156 significantly inhibited growth of SW-1990 human pancreatic cancers xenografted into nude mice, as shown by a reduction in tumour volume and tumour weights, and a decrease in AgNORs in cancer cells. IGF-I levels in serum and in pancreatic cancer tissue remained unchanged after therapy, suggesting that an effect on IGF-I is not involved in tumour inhibition. In contrast, IGF-II concentrations in tumours were significantly reduced by 50-60% after treatment with the GH-RH antagonists as compared with controls. In vitro studies showed that the concentration of IGF-II in the culture medium was increased after seeding of SW-1990 cells, indicating that this pancreatic cancer cell line produced and released IGF-II. This finding was also supported by the expression of IGF-II mRNA in the SW-1990 cells. Addition of 3x10-6 M of GH-RH antagonist MZ-5-156 to the reduced-serum medium decreased cell proliferation, IGF-II mRNA expression in the cells and IGF-II concentration in the medium. Our findings indicate that inhibitory effects of GH-RH antagonists on the growth of experimental pancreatic cancers, may result from a decrease in the production and concentration of IGF-II in the tumours. Copyright (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)128-136
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Cancer
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • AgNOR
  • GH-RH antagonists
  • IGF-I
  • IGF-I receptor
  • IGF-II
  • Pancreatic cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Hematology
  • Oncology


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