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J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1988 Jul;67(1):144-8.

Hyperinsulinemia and stromal luteinization of the ovaries in postmenopausal women with endometrial cancer.

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston 77550.


Ovarian secretion of testosterone and androstenedione is increased in postmenopausal women with endometrial cancer, and insulin stimulates ovarian stromal androgen synthesis in vitro. We undertook this study to investigate whether women with endometrial cancer have increased serum immunoreactive insulin levels. Ten postmenopausal women with endometrial carcinoma and 10 postmenopausal women without cancer who matched the cancer patients in age, years since menopause, and percentage of ideal body weight were studied. The women with endometrial cancer had significantly higher fasting serum insulin levels than the normal women [mean, 187 +/- 26 (+/- SE) vs. 55 +/- 11 pmol/L; P less than 0.01]. The cancer patients had significantly higher insulin responses after glucose administration than normal women (sum of 1, 2, and 3 h postglucose values, 5545 +/- 1526 vs. 1444 +/- 156 pmol/L; P less than 0.02), even though their glucose responses were similar. Nests of luteinized cells, which were positive for testosterone by immunoperoxidase staining, were found in the ovarian stroma of 8 of the women with endometrial cancer, but in only 1 of those without cancer (P less than 0.01). Specific high affinity insulin receptors were demonstrable in the stroma of the postmenopausal ovaries. These results suggest that the frequency of stromal luteinization is increased in women with endometrial cancer and that insulin may play a role in the pathogenesis of this luteinization.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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