Early passage in vitro cultures of colorectal adenocarcinoma cells were used to determine if glucagon exerts a direct effect on growth of human colon cancer cells. Growth response assays indicated that glucagon generally stimulated growth between 2 and 10 μg/ml, with peak responses at 5 to 10 μg/ml. When glucagon-treated and control cultures were compared, 12 of the 14 cultures (86 percent) were stimulated by glucagon, with an increase in cells from 41 to 100 percent. The other two cultures did not respond to glucagon. These in vitro results suggest that glucagon may enhance growth of most colon cancer cells. Further studies on responsiveness to glucagon may help elucidate mechanisms of oncogenesis and suggest new therapeutic protocols for patients with colorectal cancer.
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