Diabetes Drugs May Affect Pancreatic Cancer Risk

-- Rick Ansorge

Monday, August 3, 2009

MONDAY, Aug. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Among diabetics, the risk of pancreatic cancer appears to be reduced by metformin and increased by insulin or insulin secretagogue use, according to a study in the August issue of Gastroenterology.

Donghui Li, Ph.D., of the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, and colleagues conducted a hospital-based case-control study of 973 pancreatic cancer patients (259 of them diabetic) and 863 controls (109 of them diabetic).

Among diabetics, the researchers found that metformin use was associated with a significantly reduced risk of pancreatic cancer compared to non-use (odds ratio, 0.38). They also found that insulin or insulin secretagogue use in diabetics was associated with a significantly higher risk than non-use (odds ratios, 33.5 for two years or less of use and 2.78 for more than five years of use).

"At the very least, the observations reported raise testable hypotheses about the effects of metformin and insulin on the risk of pancreatic cancer," states the author of an accompanying editorial. "The observations also underscore the need for more information about how these widely used medications influence carcinogenesis in general and pancreatic carcinogenesis in particular."

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Specialties Cardiology
Diabetes & Endocrinology
Internal Medicine
Family Practice

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