Growth hormone-releasing hormone: An autocrine growth factor for small cell lung carcinoma

H. Kiaris, A. V. Schally, J. L. Varga, K. Groot, P. Armatis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

93 Scopus citations


Antagonists of growth hormone-releasing hormone (GHRH) inhibit the growth of various cancers in vivo. This effect is thought to be exerted through suppression of the pituitary growth hormone-hepatic insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) axis and direct inhibition of autocrine/paracrine production of IGF-I and -II in tumors. However, other evidence points to a direct effect of GHRH antagonists on tumor growth that may not implicate IGFs, although an involvement of GHRH in the proliferation of cancer cells has not yet been established. In the present study we investigated whether GHRH can function as an autocrine/paracrine growth factor in small cell lung carcinoma (SCLC). H-69 and H-510A SCLC lines cultured in vitro express mRNA for GHRH, which apparently is translated into peptide GHRH and then secreted by the cells, as shown by the detection of GHRH-like immunoreactivity in conditioned media from the cells cultured in vitro. In addition, the levels of GHRH-like immunoreactivity in serum from nude mice bearing H-69 xenografts were higher than in tumor-free mice. GHRH(129)NH2 stimulated the proliferation of H-69 and H-510A SCLCs in vitro, and GHRH antagonist JV-1-36 inhibited it. JV-1-36 administered s.c. into nude mice bearing xenografts of H-69 SCLC reduced significantly (P < 0.05) tumor volume and weight, after 31 days of therapy, as compared with controls. Collectively, our results suggest that GHRH can function as an autocrine growth factor in SCLCs. Treatment with antagonistic analogs of GHRH may offer a new approach to the treatment of SCLC and other cancers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)14894-14898
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number26
StatePublished - Dec 21 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Cancer therapy
  • Insulin-like growth factor
  • Insulin-like growth factor receptor
  • Lung tumors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • General


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