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Glucagon-like peptide 2 (GLP-2) accelerates the growth of colonic neoplasms in mice
  1. J Thulesen1,
  2. B Hartmann2,
  3. K J Hare2,
  4. H Kissow2,
  5. C Ørskov1,
  6. J J Holst2,
  7. S S Poulsen1
  1. 1Department of Medical Anatomy, Section B, The Panum Institute, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark
  2. 2Department of Medical Physiology, The Panum Institute, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr J Thulesen
    Naestved Hospital, Department 18, Ringstedgade 61, 4700 Naestved, Denmark;


Background: Glucagon-like peptide 2 (GLP-2) is an intestinotrophic mediator with therapeutic potential in conditions with compromised intestinal capacity. However, growth stimulation of the intestinal system may accelerate the growth of existing neoplasms in the intestine.

Aims: In the present study, the effects of GLP-2 treatment on the growth of chemically induced colonic neoplasms were investigated.

Methods: In 210 female C57bl mice, colonic tumours were initially induced with the methylating carcinogen 1,2-dimethylhydrazine (DMH) and mice were then treated with GLP-2. Two months after discontinuation of the carcinogen treatment, 135 of the mice were allocated to one of six groups which were treated twice daily with 25 μg GLP-2, 25 μg Gly2-GLP-2 (stable analogue), or phosphate buffered saline for a short (10 days) or long (one month) period. The remaining 75 mice had a treatment free period of three months and were then allocated to groups subjected to long term treatment, as above.

Results: Colonic polyps developed in 100% of the mice, regardless of treatment. Survival data revealed no statistical significant differences among the different groups but histopathological analysis demonstrated a clear and significant increase in tumour load of mice treated with Gly2-GLP-2. The tumour promoting effect of native GLP-2 was less pronounced but the number of small sized polyps increased following long term treatment.

Conclusions: The present results clearly indicate that GLP-2 promotes the growth of mucosal neoplasms. Our findings highlight the need for future investigations on the effects of GLP-2 in conditions needing long time treatment or with increased gastrointestinal cancer susceptibility.

  • GLP-2, glucagon-like peptide 2
  • DMH, 1,2-dimethylhydrazine
  • PBS, phosphate buffered saline
  • intestinal carcinogenesis
  • 1,2-dimethylhydrazine
  • glucagon-like peptide 2
  • mice

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