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Insulin Use May Lower Cancer Risk in Type 2 Diabetes

Study finds less cancer in insulin users, but higher cancer rates correlate with hyperglycemia

WEDNESDAY, May 26 (HealthDay News) -- In Chinese patients with type 2 diabetes, the use of insulin appears protective against the development of cancer, though hyperglycemia may increase cancer risk, according to research published in the May issue of Diabetes.

Xilin Yang, Ph.D., of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and colleagues studied a cohort of new insulin users and nonusers with type 2 diabetes, free from cancer and naïve to insulin at baseline. There were 973 new insulin users and 971 matched nonusers.

The researchers found the cancer incidence much higher in the participants not using insulin than in those using insulin (49.2 versus 10.2 per 1,000 person-years). After adjusting for covariates, the researchers found that A1C was associated with an increased cancer risk, and insulin use was associated with a decreased cancer risk.

"Apart from reaffirming the importance of controlling hyperglycemia to prevent poor clinical outcomes, including cancer, at least in Chinese patients with type 2 diabetes, our use of a new-cohort design coupled with careful adjustment for confounding variables has provided a new strategy in pharmacoepidemiologic analysis," the authors write.

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