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June 28, 2016 at 12:58 am  #1274510    


Hi Jim and Janine,

I am still chasing the cause of my continued fatigue and weight loss over the last 18 months or so. A number of blood tests have been indeterminate but yesterday I was given some results which may provide a link to something significant. Despite normal growth hormone level from the pituitary, my IGF-1 is very low (36ng/ml). Looking on Grace a number of the doctors have written some posts about IFG-1, so I can see there may be some link with an underlying cancer. From what I understand, the IFG-1 level is normally high in solid tumours and some trials have been conducted to use specific drugs to target these. This gives me some hope that my low IGF-1 is not cancer related. However, in another post Dr Pennell talks about using ghrelin analogs to stimulate IGF-1 secretion. This seems to suggest that the IGF-1 would be low in some cancers which then makes me think that my low IGF-1 could be significant.


There is also talk on some of the posts that a high IGF-1 could fuel tumor growth, if the doctors cannot get to the bottom of my low IGF-1 and suggest that I take medication to increase my level, would this promote tumor growth if it was indeed due to lung cancer? You might recall that I started to think about lung cancer after experiencing the fatigue, weightloss, thick phlegm and specifically a pain in the chest after a general anaesthetic in late 2014.

Many thanks for all that you do on this site,


June 28, 2016 at 4:06 pm  #1274528    
catdander forum moderator
catdander forum moderator

Hi Aaron,

The passage you pointed out is in relation to the ACS. Dr. Pennell referred to a drug that targeted IGF-1 in hopes that it would help people with ACS to gain weight. The research had nothing to do with finding cancer. Note the focus is on those who have advanced disease with a lot of tumor burden. It’s a dangerous path to take to make connections like this without any data to backup a theory.

As our faculty are clinical oncologist their focus is on treating people with cancer however diagnosing is left to others such as pulmonologists. I’m afraid your questioning is outside our realm of expertise. Perhaps a search for low IGF-1 levels on google. Talk to your doc about the reason for the tests and thoughts on the outcome.

FYI, many people have difficult respiratory issues that aren’t cancer. On a personal note I have had a bad cough since a bout with pertussis about 4 years ago. I’ve seen ENTs, pumlonologists and primary docs, I’ve had scans and tests all to no avail. It’s forced me to change my life including to the detriment of my back account.

I hope you find what’s ailing you. It’s difficult to understand how this feels unless you’ve been through it.

All best,

June 29, 2016 at 12:19 am  #1274534    


Hi Janine,

Thank you so much for your response and empathy. I did have a quick look around on google and that’s what got me worried, I found that “some lung cancers are associated with high levels of GH but low levels of IGF-1″ . But to be honest I didn’t really understand the rest of the information. It seemed to say that IGF-1 replacement could make things worse. I just hope that the doctors find a cause for my low IGF and don’t just try and supplement it without getting to the root cause.
On the positive side, my IGF-1 is extremely low so it may just provide a trial to the cause.

Thank you again for being here and providing great support.


June 29, 2016 at 7:59 am  #1274541    


What was the GH level? They go hand in hand with the IGF-1 levels. This could also be related to diabetes. There is never just one reason for any test result, it’s just used to get you on the way to a diagnosis. So I’m sure there will be more tests involved before you’re there. It’s not just about cancer and hope you find that’s the case with you. Take care, Judy

Stage IIIA adeno, dx 7/2010. SRS then chemo carbo/alimta 4x. NED as of 10/2011.
Local recurrence, surgery to remove LRL 8/29/13. 5.2cm involved pleura. Chemo carbo/alimta x3. NED

June 29, 2016 at 10:12 am  #1274542    


Hi Judy, the random GH level was 8ng/ml. I also had a stimulation test that confirmed plenty of GH was being produced. I have had so many diabetes tests that we can rule that out. With a load of vitamin tests also very low, I am sure it is related to malabsorption. It is the cause of malabsorption that worries me.


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