Application of the Athlete Biological Passport Approach to the Detection of Growth Hormone Doping

Tristan Equey, Antoni Pastor, Rafael de la Torre Fornell, Andreas Thomas, Sylvain Giraud, Mario Thevis, Tiia Kuuranne, Norbert Baume, Osquel Barroso, Reid Aikin

Publication: Contribution to journalJournal articlesResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Context: Because of its anabolic and lipolytic properties, growth hormone (GH) use is prohibited in sport. Two methods based on population-derived decision limits are currently used to detect human GH (hGH) abuse: the hGH Biomarkers Test and the Isoforms Differential Immunoassay.
Objective: We tested the hypothesis that longitudinal profiling of hGH biomarkers through application of the Athlete Biological Passport (ABP) has the potential to flag hGH abuse.
Methods: Insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) and procollagen III peptide (P-III-NP) distributions were obtained from 7 years of anti-doping data in elite athletes (n = 11 455) and applied as priors to analyze individual profiles from an hGH administration study in recreational athletes (n = 35). An open-label, randomized, single-site, placebo-controlled administration study was carried out with individuals randomly assigned to 4 arms: placebo, or 3 different doses of recombinant hGH. Serum samples were analyzed for IGF-1, P-III-NP, and hGH isoforms and the performance of a longitudinal, ABP-based approach was evaluated.
Results: An ABP-based approach set at a 99% specificity level flagged 20/27 individuals receiving hGH treatment, including 17/27 individuals after cessation of the treatment. ABP sensitivity ranged from 12.5% to 71.4% across the hGH concentrations tested following 7 days of treatment, peaking at 57.1% to 100% after 21 days of treatment, and was maintained between 37.5% and 71.4% for the low and high dose groups 1 week after cessation of treatment.
Conclusion: These findings demonstrate that longitudinal profiling of hGH biomarkers can provide suitable performance characteristics for use in anti-doping programs.
Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Journal of clinical endocrinology and metabolism
ISSN0021-972X
DOIs
Publication statusElectronically/ online published ahead of print - 02.11.2021

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