Molecular map that shows link between cancer and diabetes

Mon, 21 Nov 2011
A new study has revealed a new molecular map that could explain the link between cancer and diabetes. It is hoped the map will offer a better understanding of the cancer risk that people suffering from type 2 diabetes face.

The research, carried out at Lund University in Sweden and published in the journal Human Molecular Genetics, uncovered a map of molecules that showed some of the reasons behind why people with diabetes have an increased likelihood of developing some types of cancer.

The team found that because there are long and complex phases for the development of type 2 diabetes, this provides more time for genes that are risky to the potential for cancer, called TCF and p53, to become prominent.

The two genes combine during the onset of diabetes, with TCF helping to defend against cell death and p53 preventing excessive cell division, a process that increases cancer risk. It is known that the risk variant of TCF is comparatively common, as 25 per cent of the general population carry it, while this rises to 31 per cent for diabetes patients.

Yuedan Zhou, lead author on the study, commented "We have worked with the most well-known risk gene for type 2 diabetes ' a variant of the TCF gene ' and have studied its function in the beta cells."
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