Diabetes Mellitus Drugs May Raise Risk for Pancreatic Cancer
Taking certain diabetes mellitus drugs may put you at higher risk for developing pancreatic cancer, a new Swiss study from the University Hospital Basel shows. According to Reuters Health, only the drug metformin seems to decrease the risk of multiple cancers—and only in women.
“One theme that seems to be coming through…is that the oldest drug we have for diabetes, metformin, is undoubtedly the best drug we have for diabetes,” Dr. Peter Butler of the University of California, Los Angeles told Reuters. Butler was not involved in the study, but researches diabetes with UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine.
Pancreatic cancer is a rare disease, but it kills quickly and is thought to be linked to diabetes. Previous research has suggested that people taking drugs to control the condition may have an increased risk of developing pancreatic cancer, but which drugs are responsible remains unknown. In the Swiss study, for example, only a small difference was found in the medication history of people who did or did not get pancreatic cancer.
For the study, lead researcher Christoph Meir and his colleagues examined data from more than eight million people in the United Kingdom. About 2,800 were diagnosed with pancreatic cancer between 1995 and 2009, Reuters said. They were compared with people of similar age and gender who did not get cancer.