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Diabetes Drugs May Lower Colorectal Cancer Risk


Study reveals potential: Type 2 diabetes drugs may lower colorectal cancer risk, prompting the call for clinical trials. Promise seen for preventing other obesity and diabetes-related cancers.

About the Research on Diabetes Drugs

Case Western Reserve University study reveals type 2 diabetes drugs may reduce colorectal cancer risk. Published in JAMA Oncology, the findings advocate for clinical trials to assess their preventive potential for this deadly cancer. The medications also hold promise for preventing other cancers linked to obesity and diabetes.

GLP-1 RAs Outperform Metformin and Insulin in Preventing Colorectal Cancer, Reveals Study by Case Western Reserve School of Medicine. These type 2 diabetes drugs, known for lowering blood sugar, enhancing insulin sensitivity, and managing weight, exhibit superior effectiveness in preventing CRC compared to popular anti-diabetic medications. The protective impact extends to patients with or without overweight/obesity, showcasing their potential to reduce major cardiovascular ailments.

First-of-its-kind Study: Weight-loss and anti-diabetic drugs in a popular class significantly reduce colorectal cancer incidence, as highlighted by co-lead researcher Rong Xu, a professor at the School of Medicine. Both researchers, Nathan Berger and Rong Xu, are affiliated with the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center.


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Weight, diabetes, and colorectal cancer (CRC) interlinked: Overweight, obesity, and diabetes increase CRC risk and worsen prognosis. The National Institutes of Health defines overweight and obesity, as prevalent due to factors like diet, sleep, and genetics. Body mass index gauges body fat. The U.S. sees high rates, with 75% of adults overweight or obese and 20% of children and teens with obesity. Obesity, a chronic condition, elevates heart disease and is linked to type 2 diabetes and cancer. CRC ranks third in cancer types, with 153,000 new cases yearly, and is the second-leading cause of cancer mortality, claiming 52,550 lives annually, according to the American Cancer Society.

Exploring GLP-1 RAs: Leveraging their known efficacy in diabetes and weight loss, researchers aimed to assess their impact on colorectal cancer (CRC) incidence. Analyzing over 1.2 million patients in a national database from 2005-19, the study compared GLP-1 RAs with other anti-diabetic drugs. Through population-based research, matching individuals by key characteristics, the team found a 44% reduction in CRC cases among those treated with GLP-1 RAs compared to insulin. A similar trend was observed with Metformin, indicating a 25% reduction. These findings are crucial for addressing CRC incidence in diabetes patients, irrespective of overweight or obesity status, as emphasized by lead researcher Berger.

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