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J Am Coll Nutr. 1992 Aug;11(4):445-56.

A review of cancer cachexia and abnormal glucose metabolism in humans with cancer.

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Department of Medicine, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Torrance.


In 1919, glucose intolerance became the earliest recognized metabolic abnormality in cancer patients. Prior to the development of severe malnutrition, colon, gastric, sarcoma, endometrial, prostate, localized head, neck, and lung cancer patients had many of the metabolic abnormalities of type II (noninsulin dependent) diabetes mellitus. These metabolic abnormalities include glucose intolerance, an increase in both hepatic glucose production (HGP) and glucose recycling, and insulin resistance. In a study of over 600 cancer patients, a diabetic pattern of glucose tolerance test was noted in over one-third of the patients. An increased rate of HGP, commonly seen in diabetics, has been noted in almost all types of cancer patients studied to date. Etiology of the increased glucose production in the cancer patient is not known, but abnormalities in the counter regulatory hormones, especially growth hormone, may contribute to the development of abnormal glucose metabolism. A second possible stimulus for the increase in HGP could be the glucose needs of the tumor. Abnormally high glucose utilization rates in small amounts of tumor tissue have recently been described. This suggests that small tumors may have large needs for glucose calories. An increase in anaerobic glycolysis in the tumor tissue can increase lactate production in the tumor-bearing human, thus supplying substrate to the liver to increase glucose production rates. In this paper, the nature of abnormal glucose metabolism in cancer patients is described.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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