Synthesis and Secretion of Insulin-like Growth Factor II by a Leiomyosarcoma with Associated Hypoglycemia

William H. Daughaday, Mary Ann Emanuele, Marion H. Brooks, Anthony L. Barbato, Milan Kapadia, Peter Rotwein

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280 Scopus citations


We describe a case of recurrent hypoglycemia apparently caused by secretion of insulin-like growth factor II (IGF-II) by a leiomyosarcoma. A 67-year-old woman presented with recurrent severe hypoglycemia and a large mass in the thorax. During hypoglycemia, plasma cortisol was elevated, but insulin and growth hormone levels were low. After resection of a large leiomyosarcoma, the hypoglycemia resolved. After an eight-year remission, both the tumor and symptomatic hypoglycemia recurred. During a second operation a second large tumor was removed, with relief of the patient's hypoglycemia. The tumor contained high concentrations of IGF-II mRNA and 2100 ng of IGF-II immunoreactive peptide per gram. Filtration through a BioGel P-60 gel column established that 77 percent of the IGF-II was present as a larger molecule, demonstrating incomplete processing of the pro-IGF-II peptides. A similar fraction of high-molecular-weight IGF-II was present in the serum, indicating that the tumor was the chief source of IGF-II. The high-molecular-weight IGF-II found in both the tumor and serum was fully reactive with the IGF-II receptor. Radioimmunoassay showed that the concentrations of insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) in tumor and serum were low, suggesting feedback inhibition of growth hormone secretion by IGF-II. Eight months after reoperation, plasma concentrations of IGF-I and IGF-II were normal, and high-molecular-weight IGF-II was virtually undetectable. We conclude that the most likely cause of this patient's recurrent hypoglycemia was IGF-II produced by the leiomyosarcoma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1434-1440
Number of pages7
JournalNew England Journal of Medicine
Issue number22
StatePublished - Dec 1 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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