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 l.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 severe degree of hypoalbuminemia.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research