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Keith E. Friend, Robert Radinsky and Ian E. McCutcheon

Object. This study was undertaken to explore the effects of growth hormone (GH) and the GH-stimulated peptide insulin-like growth factor—1 (IGF-1) on the growth rate of meningiomas.

Methods. Polymerase chain reaction and ribonuclease protection assays were used to demonstrate that GH receptor messenger RNA was present in all 14 meningioma specimens studied, regardless of tumor grade. Both wild type (GHRwt) and a previously described exon 3 deletion isoform (GHRd3) of the GH receptor were identified in individual tumor specimens. The importance of the GH receptor was assessed using a GH receptor antagonist (B2036). Blockade of the GH receptor with B2036 reduced serum-induced DNA synthesis, as measured by thymidine incorporation, by 8 to 33% (mean 20%) in primary meningioma cultures. Tumors that expressed the GHRwt and GHRd3 isoforms, or a combination of the two, were all responsive to antagonist treatment. The importance of IGF-1 in stimulating meningioma cell growth was also assessed. It was found that IGF-1 increased thymidine incorporation in primary meningioma cultures in a dose-dependent manner: 1 ng/ml, 5 ng/ml, and 10 ng/ml resulted in increases in thymidine incorporation of 21%, 43%, and 176%, respectively, over baseline values.

Conclusions. In these studies the authors demonstrate that activation of the GH/IGF-1 axis significantly increases the growth rate of meningiomas. Blockade of the GH receptor on tumor cells inhibited tumor growth. If these findings are confirmed in animal studies, agents that downregulate the GH/IGF-1 axis might represent a potential adjuvant therapy in the management of patients with meningioma.