The use of growth hormone therapy has been linked in some people to the development of colon polyps, a possible precursor to colorectal cancer – but medical researchers have debated the extent of a cancer risk.
In addition, the reason for a polyp link to growth hormone has been unclear. But new research from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill indicates the probable answer: loss of function of one of a pair of genes that normally would inhibit growth hormone signals inside the cell.
The study also offers a possible molecular marker that could help determine which people taking growth hormone therapy are at increased risk for colon polyps. Researchers already know that colon polyps tend to occur in people who already have excessive amounts of growth hormone, such as those with a disease called acromegaly, or gigantism.
Leslie H. Lang | EurekAlert!
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