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Br J Cancer. 1978 Aug;38(2):287-92.

Mechanism of impaired glucose tolerance in patients with neoplasia.


The disappearance rate (k) of i.v. glucose was measured in cachectic and non-cachectic cancer patients and tumour-free controls. The respective k values were found to be 1.06 +/- 0.27 (mean +/- s.d.), 1.64 +/- 0.34 and 1.63 +/- 0.23. Of the other parameters measured, only plasma albumin level was found to vary significantly amongst the 3 categories, the mean level being the lowest in cachectic cancer patients. The means of total plasma protein, fasting blood glucose and plasma liver enzyme concentrations were similar in the 3 groups. Glucagon, a potent insulin secretogogue, failed to augment the fasting insulin level in cachectic but did so in non-cachectic cancer patients. Taken together, the findings suggest that the reduced glucose tolerance in patients with neoplasia is due to impairment of insulin release exhibited predominantly by ill-nourished advanced cancer patients having a moderate to sever degree of hypoalbuminemia.

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