Insulin a benefit and not a problem when given with cancer chemotherapy

J Huazhong Univ Sci Technolog Med Sci. 2010 Oct;30(5):631-7. Epub 2010 Nov 10.

Insulin in endometrial carcinoma chemotherapy: a beneficial addition and not a problem.

Sha H, Li Y, Du X, Wang H.

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China.


The effects of insulin or insulin in combination with chemotherapeutic drugs on the proliferation and apoptosis of endometrial carcinoma cells were examined with an aim to determine the efficacy and safety of insulin in endometrial cancer therapy. Ishikawa and Hec-1A cells were treated with insulin and/or paclitaxel. Cell proliferation was assessed by MTT assay. Cell cycle and cell apoptosis were determined by flow cytometry (FCM). Survivin gene expression was detected by RT-PCR. Our results showed that in a certain range of working concentrations and action time, insulin could mildly augment cell proliferation and the percentage of S phase cells in endometrial cancer (Ishikawa/Hec-1A) cells. Insulin plus paclitaxel (combination group) could significantly inhibit cell proliferation (69.38%±2.32% vs 40.31%±4.52% with Ishikawa; 64.11%±6.33% vs 45.89%±3.27% with Hec-1A) and increase cell apoptosis compared with treatment with paclitaxel alone (paclitaxel group). Survivin gene expression was also significantly decreased in combination group as compared with paclitaxel group. We are led to conclude that insulin can mildly augment cell proliferation and present chemotherapy sensitivity in endometrial cancer cells. Insulin can be to used safely and efficiently in endometrial cancer therapy.

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