• Prediabetes Linked To Higher Risk of Cancer
  • March 19, 2015 | Author: Stephen J. Burg
  • Law Firm: Burg Simpson Eldredge Hersh & Jardine, P.C. - Englewood Office
  • Chinese researchers conducted a large-scale analysis of studies involving people with prediabetes and their risk for cancer. The researchers found, through reviewing 16 studies, which included 891,426 patients around the world, that prediabetes increased the likelihood of a cancer diagnosis by 15 percent, Science Daily reported.

    Prediabetes is a condition in which a person's blood sugar level is higher than normal but not elevated to the point of being diagnosed Type 2 diabetes, according to Mayo Clinic. Without proper medical treatment, people with prediabetes will likely have Type 2 diabetes within 10 years. Continuing not to treat the condition can lead to other major health problems, including issues with a person's heart and circulatory system.

    The analysis
    Of the 16 studies the researchers reviewed, 11 were conducted in the U.S. and Europe, four were conducted in Asia and one was performed in Africa. Because obesity is also associated with prediabetes and an increased risk of cancer, the researchers adjusted their analysis to take into account body mass index. Even when controlling for BMI, they found prediabetes was linked to an increased risk of cancer.

    The researchers also looked at the risk for specific types of cancers. Prediabetes was associated with an increased risk of stomach, liver, pancreas, breast and endometrial cancers. It was not associated with an increased risk of lung, prostate, ovary, kidney and bladder cancers.

    Possible causes of the link
    The analysis did not provide details into where there is an association between prediabetes and cancer. However, the researchers believe constant high blood sugar creates chronic oxidative stress in the body, which could act as a carcinogen. Another factor may be increased insulin secretion, which may allow cancer cells to grow and divide, and third, people with prediabetes may have a genetic mutation that predisposes them to cancer.

    Importance of the findings
    Prior to this study, diabetes had been linked to cancer. Now, physicians should be on the lookout for patients who are prediabetic. Treatment of the condition can not only prevent the onset of Type 2 diabetes but also cancer.

    "... Considering the high prevalence of prediabetes as well as the robust and significant association between prediabetes and cancer we demonstrated in our study, a successful lifestyle intervention could have a major public-health impact on cancer prevention," researcher Dr. Yuli Huang from First People's Hospital in China told Medscape.