Postabsorptive and postprandial glucose and fat metabolism in postmenopausal women with breast cancer-Preliminary data after chemotherapy compared to healthy controls

Kristian Buch-Larsen, Linn Gillberg, Haboon Ismail Ahmed, Simone Diedrichsen Marstrand, Michael Andersson, Gerrit van Hall, Charlotte Brøns, Peter Schwarz


BACKGROUND: Breast cancer survivors are a growing population due to improved treatment. It is known that postmenopausal women treated for breast cancer may experience weight gain and increased insulin resistance, but detailed knowledge on how chemotherapy impact metabolic and endocrine mechanisms remain unknown.

OBJECTIVES: We performed a thorough, preliminary study to elucidate the differing mechanisms of postprandial absorption and metabolism in postmenopausal early breast cancer (EBC) patients treated with adjuvant chemotherapy compared to healthy controls. We hypothesize that chemotherapy has a negative impact on metabolism in EBC patients.

METHODS: We examined four postmenopausal women shortly after treatment with chemotherapy for EBC and four age-matched healthy women who served as controls using isotopic tracers during a mixed meal-test. Blood was sampled during the 240 min meal-test to examine postprandial absorption and endogenous synthesis of lipid and carbohydrate metabolites.

RESULTS: We found that insulin concentrations were numerically higher before the meal-test in the EBC patients compared to controls (76.3 pmol/L vs 37.0 pmol/L; P = 0.06). Glucose kinetics was increased postprandial (most pronounced at 30 min, 9.46 mmol/L vs 7.33 mmol/L; P = 0.51), with no difference between the groups regarding liver glucose output. Fatty acid kinetics showed a numeric increase in oleic acid rate of appearance in BC patients, but only during the first hour after the mixed meal. There was no significant difference in VLDL-TAG synthesis between the two groups.

CONCLUSIONS: This preliminary study is unique in using advanced tracer methods to investigate in vivo metabolism of EBC patients after chemotherapy although no statistical differences in glucose and fatty acid kinetics was seen compared to controls. However, during the first two postprandial hours, oral glucose and oleic acid appearance in the systematic circulation was elevated in the EBC patients. This could be due to changes in gastrointestinal uptake and further studies with altered set-up could provide valuable insights.

Original languageEnglish
Article number112394
JournalNutrition (Burbank, Los Angeles County, Calif.)
Pages (from-to)112394
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2024


  • Breast cancer
  • Chylomicron
  • Fatty acids
  • Glucose
  • Meal test
  • Metabolism


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