Certain diabetes drugs reduce cancer risk in women

Certain diabetes drugs reduce cancer risk in women 16.12.2013.

Certain diabetes drugs reduce cancer risk in women

In preventing cancer, the researchers found that insulin sensitizers, including the drugs metformin, rosiglitazone and pioglitazone (the latter two marketed as Avandia and Actos) were more powerful than insulin secretagogues such as glyburide, glipizide and glimepiride.

The effect was seen only in women taking the medications, not in men with Type 2 diabetes. And it was most robust in women taking the class of insulin sensitizer drugs called thiazolidinediones, or TZDs (Avandia and Actos), which were introduced in the late 1990s. When researchers included women taking metformin to treat their Type 2 diabetes with those taking TZDs, they saw cancer-risk reduction of 22% over that provided by glyburide, glipizide and glimepiride.

Cancer is 30% to 50% more common in patients with diabetes than in those without the metabolic disorder, and women with diabetes appear to be at especially high risk of cancers of the breast and reproductive tract. A wide range of cancer cells appear to be studded with insulin receptors, and insulin behaves in the body as a growth factor. As a result, malignancies seem to take hold more readily and grow more aggressively in circumstances where insulin levels in the blood are high, as they are in diabetes.