Tailored healthcare and medication for everyone with type 2 diabetes could lower the risk of them developing cancer, researchers have said.
A study compiled in Vienna suggests that optimised, personalised therapy and targeted precision medicine could significantly reduce cancer risk in those with type 2 diabetes.
The research was based on 1.85 million Austrians who had been admitted to hospital at least once between 2006 and 2007.
Of those people, 300,000 had type 2 diabetes and were treated with a total of around 300 different combinations of diabetes drugs. The review did not include incretin-based therapies and SGLT-2 inhibitors, as those were not in use at the time of the study period.
Data showed that insulin-stimulating drugs (sulphonylureas and insulin) create a higher chance of developing cancer when compared with drugs which helps towards reducing insulin levels.
Drugs which increase the amount of insulin in the body were linked with significant increases of pancreatic cancer in both men and women, and higher numbers of liver cancer in men and lymphoma in women.
Statins, which are usually prescribed to reduce cholesterol in metabolic disorders, and metformin are both associated with a reduced cancer risk compared to usage of other medication.
Alexandra Kautzky-Willer, from the MedUni who helped compile the research, said: “Cancer and diabetes share common risk factors such as being overweight, smoking, poor eating habits, lack of exercise, insulin resistance, inflammatory and hormonal changes and, on top of that, poorly-controlled diabetes with high blood glucose levels can increase the cancer risk.
“This shows that it is possible to optimise individual treatments to substantially reduce the general cancer risk for diabetes patients. In today’s precision medicine, we have a wide selection of drugs available to us and possible combination treatments that would make this possible.”
The findings of the study have been published in the Journal of Internal Medicine.

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