CLEVELAND — Diabetes drugs may reduce the risk of colon cancer, according to a ground-breaking new study.
Scientists say their findings support the need for clinical trials to determine whether the medications could prevent one of the deadliest forms of cancer.
The drugs may also show promise in warding off other types of cancer associated with obesity and diabetes, according to the findings published in the journal JAMA Oncology.
The study suggesting a class of medications used to treat type 2 diabetes may also reduce the risk of colon cancer, also known as colorectal cancer or CRC, was conducted by scientists at Case Western Reserve University in the United States.
“Our results clearly demonstrate that GLP-1 RAs are significantly more effective than popular anti-diabetic drugs, such as Metformin or insulin, at preventing the development of CRC,” said Co-lead researcher Professor Nathan Berger.
He explained that glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists, or GLP-1 RAs, are medications to treat type 2 diabetes.
Usually given by injection, they can lower blood-sugar levels, improve insulin sensitivity and help manage weight.
The drugs have also been shown to reduce the rates of major cardiovascular ailments.
Importantly the protective effect of GLP-1 RAs are noted in both obese and lower weight patients.
Being overweight or obese or having diabetes are risk factors for increasing incidence of CRC and for making its prognosis worse.
“To our knowledge, this is the first indication this popular weight-loss and anti-diabetic class of drugs reduces incidence of CRC, relative to other anti-diabetic agents,” said Co-lead researcher Professor Rong Xu.
The American Cancer Society estimates CRC is the third-leading type of cancer in both men and women, with 153,000 new cases per year. It is also the second-leading cause of cancer mortality with 52,550 deaths per year.
Since GLP-1 RAs have been shown to be effective anti-diabetic and weight-loss agents, the researchers hypothesized they might reduce incidence of CRC.
Among 22,572 patients with diabetes treated with insulin, there were 167 cases of CRC.
Another 22,572 matched patients treated with GLP-1 RAs saw 94 cases of CRC.
Those treated with GLP-1 RAs had a 44 percent reduction in incidence of CRC.
In a similar comparison of 18,518 patients with diabetes treated with Metformin, compared to 18,518 patients with diabetes treated with GLP-1 RAs, had a 25 percent reduction in CRC.
“The research is critically important for reducing incidence of CRC in patients with diabetes, with or without overweight and obesity,” added Prof Berger.
Produced in association with SWNS Talker
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