Background: Hyperinsulinemia resulting from obesity and insulin resistance is associated with increased risk of many cancers, but the biology underlying this risk is unclear. We hypothesized that increased mRNA levels of the insulin-like growth factor I receptor (IGFIR) versus the insulin receptor (IR) or elevated ratio of IRA: IR-B isoforms in normal rectal mucosa would predict adenoma risk, particularly in individuals with high body mass index (BMI) or plasma insulin. Methods: Biopsies from normal rectal mucosa were obtained from consenting patients undergoing routine colonoscopy at University of North Carolina Hospitals (Chapel Hill, NC). Subjects with colorectal adenomas were classified as cases (n = 100) and were matched to adenoma-free controls (n = 98) based on age, sex, and BMI. IGFIR and IR mRNA levels were assessed by qRT-PCR, and IR-A:IR-B mRNA ratios by standard PCR. Plasma insulin and crypt apoptosis were measured by ELISA and terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferasemediated dUTP nick end labeling (TUNEL), respectively. Logistic regression models examined relationships between receptor mRNAs, BMI, plasma insulin, and adenoma risk. Results: Unexpectedly, cases were significantly more likely to have lower IGFIRmRNAlevels than controls. No overall differences in total IR mRNA or IR-A:IR-B ratios were observed between cases and controls. Interestingly, in patients with high plasma insulin, increased IR-A:IR-B ratio was associated with increased likelihood of having adenomas. Conclusions: Our work shows novel findings that reduced IGFIR mRNA and, during high plasma insulin, increased IR-A:IR-B ratios in normal rectal mucosa are associated with colorectal adenoma risk. Impact: Our work provides evidence supporting a link between IGFIR and IR isoform expression levels and colorectal adenoma risk.
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