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Influence of Hydrazine Sulfate on Abnormal Carbohydrate Metabolism in Cancer Patients with Weight Loss

[Cancer Research 44:857-861, 1984]

Rowan T. Chlebowski, David Heber, Betsy Richardson, and Jerome B. Block

Divisions of Medical Oncology [R.T.C., B.R., J.B.B.] and Endocrinology and Metabolism [D.H.], Department of Medicine, University of California Los Angeles School of Medicine, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Torrance, California 90509


Thirty-eight patients with advanced cancer and weight loss were tested in a prospectively randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial to evaluate the influence of hydrazine sulfate on carbohydrate metabolism in cancer cachexia. All patients had an initial 3-day inpatient metabolic evaluation including: standard 5-hr p.o. glucose tolerance test, hormone studies, and total glucose production by infusion of [6-H] glucose. After 30 days of treatment with capsules containing either placebo or hydrazine sulfate in a 60-mg, 3 times/day dosage, inpatient evaluation was repeated. A total of 62 metabolic inpatient evaluations were performed. The pretreatment characteristics of age, sex, prior therapy experience, nutritional parameters and tumor types were comparable in placebo and hydrazine treatment groups. On initial evaluation, abnormal glucose tolerance and increased glucose production were frequently seen. Serial assessment of glucose tolerance showed no improvement after 30 days of placebo treatment. However, the glucose tolerance was significantly improved in patients receiving 30 days of hydrazine sulfate [2-hr glucose; initial 16924 (S.E.) mg/dl versus final 12812 mg/dl; p < 0.05]. In addition, the rate of total glucose production was significantly decreased after 30 days of hydrazine sulfate compared to placebo treatment (2.46 mg/kg/min versus 3.07 mg/kg/min, respectively; p < 0.05). Toxic effects of hydrazine sulfate were minimal. Our results suggest that hydrazine sulfate can influence the abnormal carbohydrate metabolism associated with weight loss in patients with cancer.

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