Researchers exploring the link between high blood glucose (hyperglycaemia) and cancer have identified a blood protein that may indicate who is at greater risk of diabetes and death from cancer.

The doctors examined two decades of health records from over 4,500 adults enrolled in the  Malmö Diet and Cancer study. Patients with high levels of prostasin (a protein found in the blood) were almost twice as likely to have diabetes compared to those with low prostasin levels.

According to the study, patients with high prostasin levels were 43% more at risk of dying from cancer, while hose with high levels of both blood glucose and prostasin had an even greater chance of dying from cancer.

The results suggest prostasin may be used as a new marker to identify the risk of diabetes, alongside the identification of cancer mortality risk in people with high blood glucose.

Prof Gunnar Engström, a senior author on the study at Lund University, said: “The relationship between diabetes and cancer is poorly understood and this protein could provide a possible shared link between the two conditions.

“We now need to examine to what extent prostasin is causally related to these diseases or whether it is a valuable marker of increased disease risk. It might also be possible to identify individuals with increased risk of diabetes and cancer, and offer preventive measures.”

This study was originally published in Diabetologia

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