Androgens increase insulin receptor mRNA levels, insulin binding, and insulin responsiveness in HEp-2 larynx carcinoma cells

Mol Cell Endocrinol. 1992 Jul;86(1-2):111-8. doi: 10.1016/0303-7207(92)90181-5.


Androgen receptors have been found in human larynx and androgens have been supposed to play an important role in promoting the growth of laryngeal carcinomas. The molecular mechanism underlaying this phenomenon is not at all understood. Aim of this work was to investigate the effects of two androgens (testosterone and dihydrotestosterone) on insulin receptor mRNA levels and insulin binding activity as well as on either metabolic or growth-promoting actions of insulin in a human larynx carcinoma cell line (HEp-2). We found that HEp-2 cells express a high affinity insulin receptor. Both androgens significantly increase insulin receptor mRNA levels and insulin receptor number in HEp-2 cells. Insulin action, evaluated either as total glucose utilization or as [3H]thymidine incorporation into DNA, significantly increased in HEp-2 treated with androgens in comparison to control cultures. Altogether, our data allow us to speculate that the increased insulin effectiveness we observed in the larynx carcinoma cell line HEp-2 after androgen treatment might be involved in the regulation of larynx cancer cells growth.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / metabolism*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / pathology
  • Cell Division / drug effects
  • Dihydrotestosterone / pharmacology*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Insulin / metabolism*
  • Insulin / pharmacology
  • Laryngeal Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Laryngeal Neoplasms / pathology
  • RNA, Messenger / biosynthesis*
  • Receptor, Insulin / biosynthesis*
  • Receptor, Insulin / drug effects
  • Receptor, Insulin / genetics
  • Receptor, Insulin / metabolism
  • Testosterone / pharmacology*
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured / drug effects
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured / metabolism
  • Up-Regulation / drug effects


  • Insulin
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Dihydrotestosterone
  • Testosterone
  • Receptor, Insulin