Insulin Resistance and Colorectal Cancer Risk: the Role of Elevated Plasma Resistin Levels

  • Hamid FarahaniEmail author
  • Touraj Mahmoudi
  • Asadollah Asadi
  • Hossein Nobakht
  • Reza Dabiri
  • Amir Hamta
Original Research



Given the important role of resistin in insulin resistance (IR) and obesity, as well as the associations between both IR and obesity and increased risk of colorectal cancer (CRC), we investigated whether plasma resistin levels were associated with CRC risk. Furthermore, the possible correlations between resistin and insulin, IR, and obesity in patients with CRC and controls were explored.


This study was conducted as a case-control study and 170 subjects, including 88 controls and 82 cases with CRC, were enrolled and their plasma levels of glucoe, insulin, and resistin were measured using glucose oxidase or ELISA methods. Moreover, IR was calculated according to HOMA-IR index.


The cases with CRC had a higher HOMA-IR than the controls (1.8 ± 0.4 versus 1.4 ± 0.3, P < 0.001). Additionally, after the stratification of the cases with CRC by tumor site, higher levels of resistin and insulin, and a higher HOMA-IR in the cases with rectal cancer than in the controls were observed (resistin 5.9 ± 1.2 versus 5.4 ± 1.3, P = 0.043; insulin 5.9 ± 1.2 versus 5.4 ± 1.3, P = 0.039; HOMA- IR 1.9 ± 0.4 versus 1.3 ± 0.3, P < 0.001). Furthermore, resistin was positively correlated with insulin in the controls (r = 0.737, P < 0.001), the cases with CRC (r = 0.881, P < 0.001), the cases with colon cancer (r = 0.811, P < 0.001), and the cases with rectal cancer (r = 0.990, P < 0.001). All these differences remained significant after adjustment for confounding factors.


The findings of the present study reinforce the hypothesis that higher plasma levels of resistin in connection with insulin resistance play a role in susceptibility to colorectal, notably rectal, cancer. Nevertheless, further studies with bigger sample sizes are required to validate these findings.


Colorectal cancer Obesity Insulin resistance IR Plasma Resistin 



The authors thank all patients and healthy blood donors for providing blood samples.


This work was supported by a grant from Qom University of Medical Sciences (No. 94536).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hamid Farahani
    • 1
    Email author
  • Touraj Mahmoudi
    • 2
  • Asadollah Asadi
    • 3
  • Hossein Nobakht
    • 4
  • Reza Dabiri
    • 4
  • Amir Hamta
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of Physiology, School of MedicineQom University of Medical SciencesQomIran
  2. 2.Gastroenterology and Liver Diseases Research Center, Research Institute for Gastroenterology and Liver DiseasesShahid Beheshti University of Medical SciencesTehranIran
  3. 3.Department of Biology, Faculty of ScienceUniversity of Mohaghegh ArdabiliArdabilIran
  4. 4.Internal Medicine DepartmentSemnan University of Medical SciencesSemnanIran
  5. 5.Department of Social Medicine, School of MedicineQom University of Medical SciencesQomIran

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