Growth hormone receptor overexpression predicts response of rectal cancers to pre-operative radiotherapy

Eur J Cancer. 2006 May;42(7):888-94. doi: 10.1016/j.ejca.2005.12.012. Epub 2006 Mar 3.


In this study, we evaluated the possible role of Growth Hormone Receptor (GHR) expression pattern in determining rectal cancer radiosensitivity. We examined GHR expression in pre-treatment biopsy materials and post-operative specimens from 98 patients by immunohistochemistry (IHC) and reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). GHR expression was evaluated for association with tumour radiosensitivity, which was defined according to Rectal Cancer Regression Grade (RCRG). IHC results demonstrated that GHR overexpression was significantly associated with a poor response to radiotherapy (P < 0.001, r(s) = 0.399); RT-PCR detection of GHR expression on pre-radiation biopsy specimens also showed that GHR mRNA negative group had a higher radiation sensitivity (P < 0.001, r(s) = 0.398). Compared with the pre-radiation biopsy specimens, the paired post-operative specimens showed a significantly up-regulated GHR expression in the reliquus cancer cells (P < 0.001). In conclusion, GHR expression levels may be an indicator for rectal cancer radiosensitivity before pre-operative irradiation. The administration of GHR antagonist may have the potential to increase rectal cancer radiosensitivity.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Proteins / metabolism*
  • Preoperative Care / methods
  • Radiation Tolerance
  • Receptors, Somatotropin / metabolism*
  • Rectal Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Rectal Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Statistics, Nonparametric


  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Receptors, Somatotropin