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A correction to the age-adjustment of the GH-2000 score used in the detection of growth hormone misuse

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Dankmar Böhning, Walailuck Böhning, Nishan Guha, David A. Cowan, Christiaan Bartlett, Peter H. Sönksen, Richard I.G. Holt

Original languageEnglish
Article number650
JournalBMC Research Notes
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 5 Sep 2018


King's Authors


Objective: The GH-2000 biomarker test has been introduced by the World Anti-Doping Agency as a method of detecting growth hormone misuse in professional sport. The test involves the measurement insulin-like growth factor-I and the amino-terminal pro-peptide of type III collagen (P-III-NP) which increase in a dose-dependent manner in response to GH. These measurements are combined in sex specific formulae that include an age adjustment. The original age adjustment overcorrects the effect of age in male athletes and could potentially place older men at a disadvantage. The purpose of this note is to investigate the performance of a previously suggested correction term in two new and larger data sets. Results: The GH-2000 score was calculated for 7307 samples obtained from 15 accredited WADA laboratories in 2017 and 3916 samples measured at Drug Control Centre, King's College London, UK between 2013 and 2017. The GH-2000 scores were investigated for positive age effects using standard regression modelling. As previously, all analyses confirmed a positive age effect. Applying the earlier suggested correction term of 0.032 × age showed a significant over-correction leading to a negative association of the GH-2000 score with age. We now suggest a smaller age correction of 0.020 × age, which corresponds to the smallest effect found in the earlier studies.

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