Diabetes can signal underlying pancreatic cancer
medwireNews: Research presented at the European Cancer Congress in Amsterdam shows that new or deteriorating type 2 diabetes can sometimes indicate underlying pancreatic cancer.
Half of all pancreatic cancers detected in diabetes patients in the study were diagnosed within 1 year of onset. And 25% of the 885 cases detected among 368,377 Belgian diabetes patients and 18% of the 1872 cases among 456,311 French patients were diagnosed within 90 days of the diabetes diagnosis.
Pancreatic cancer was also associated with treatment escalation. In the Belgian cohort there was a 3.3-fold increased risk for a pancreatic cancer diagnosis during the first 3 months after receiving a first prescription for an incretin-based drug, with the risk falling thereafter although remaining significant for diagnoses more than 12 months later.
“Our study shows that incretin therapies are often prescribed to patients whose diabetes is caused by a still undiagnosed pancreatic cancer,” said study author Alice Koechlin (International Prevention Research Institute in Lyon, France) in a press statement.
She said this implies that the reported association between incretin-based drugs and pancreatic cancer is a case of reverse causality, because “in reality, it is the pancreatic cancer that causes a deterioration of diabetes, which is followed by the prescription of incretins.”
Likewise, starting on insulin treatment was associated with an 11.9-fold increased risk for a subsequent pancreatic cancer diagnosis in the Belgian cohort.
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