Serum Interleukin-6, insulin, and HOMA-IR in male individuals with colorectal adenoma

Clin Cancer Res. 2012 Jan 15;18(2):392-9. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-11-0896. Epub 2011 Nov 2.


Purpose: It is widely acknowledged that chronic low-grade inflammation plays a key role in the development of obesity-related insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. The level of circulating interleukin-6 (IL-6), one of the major proinflammatory adipokines, is correlated with obesity and insulin resistance, which are known to be risk factors for colorectal adenoma. We examined the association between the circulating level of IL-6 and the presence of colorectal adenoma.

Experimental design: In a total colonoscopy-based cross-sectional study conducted between January and December 2008, serum levels of IL-6 were measured in samples of venous blood obtained from 336 male participants attending health checkups (118 individuals with colorectal adenoma and 218 age-matched controls) after an overnight fast.

Results: In the colorectal adenoma group, the median levels of serum IL-6 (1.24 vs. 1.04 pg/mL; P = 0.01), triglyceride, insulin, and homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) were to be significantly higher than those in the control group. When restricted to individuals with adenoma, levels of IL-6 were positively correlated with body mass index, insulin, and HOMA-IR. Multiple logistic analyses adjusted to include insulin or HOMA-IR showed that high levels of IL-6 were associated with the presence of colorectal adenoma. There was no significant interaction of IL-6 with HOMA-IR to modify this association.

Conclusions: Our findings suggest that increased serum levels of IL-6 are positively associated with the presence of colorectal adenoma in men, independently of insulin and HOMA-IR.

MeSH terms

  • Adenoma / blood*
  • Adult
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / blood*
  • Humans
  • Insulin / blood*
  • Insulin Resistance*
  • Interleukin-6 / blood*
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Odds Ratio
  • Sensitivity and Specificity


  • IL6 protein, human
  • Insulin
  • Interleukin-6