A 58-year-old man, with primary hemochromatosis, cirrhosis, and diabetes mellitus treated with insulin developed hepatoma. As the tumor grew, he lost his dependence on insulin therapy and experienced episodes of hypoglycemia. His response to infuse insulin was studied using the euglycemic clamp technique. Insulin was infused at rates of 1 and 10 μ/kg/min. The insulin dose response curve was shifted to the left and at plasma insulin levels of 72 μU/ml, steady-state glucose consumption was 9.6 mg/kg/min, 50% more than in normals, and nearly three times greater than that in other cirrhotics. The insulin clearance rate was 4417 m1/m2/min, almost five and six times more than in normals and cirrhotics, respectively. Basal hepatic glucose production was 3.6 mg/kg/min, two and three times higher than in normal and in cirrhotic subjects, respectively. The decrease in amino acid during hyperinsulinemia was more than 30% higher than in normal and other cirrhotics. IFG-I and II levels were not elevated in this patient. Increased insulin sensitivity and increased insulin clearance and serum amino acid decrease in response to insulin in vivo, suggest that insulin responsive tissues are at last partially responsible for tumor hypoglycemia. The increased glucose disposal rate probably accounted for the disappearance of the diabetes.
- insulin sensitivity
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