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TZDs may Reduce Cancer Risk in Diabetes Patients

Antidiabetic drugs called thiazolidinediones (TZDs) or glitazones might reduce cancer risk in type 2 diabetes patients according to a new study. Xilin Yang, together with his colleagues from the Chinese University of HongKong, China said that with TZD usage, there was an 83 percent reduction in cancer risk in Chinese patients with Type 2 diabetes.

“Apart from promoting preadipocyte differentiation and reducing ectopic fat distribution with improved insulin sensitivity and reduced inflammation, TZDs possess antimitotic and anticancer effects in experimental studies,” the researchers explained.

The group examined whether the use of TZDs had anticancer effect in 6,074 Chinese individuals with Type 2 diabetes who were free of cancer during the enrollment of the study.

The enrollment was between January 1, 1996 to January 5, 2008 and the registry contained complete drug dispensary data for all patients including start and end dates for each drug of interest. The researchers also made an assessment on the association between TZDs and incidence of fatal or nonfatal cancer among the cohort over a median follow-up period of 4.93 years.

As reported in the study, 376 (6.19 percent) of the 6,074 patients were TZD users with 58 using pioglitazone (median daily dosage, 20 mg), 313 taking rosiglitazone (median daily dosage, 4 mg), and five patients taking both medications. At the end of the follow-up period, 270 (4.45 percent) of the overall developed cancer while those using TZDs had higher chances of reducing the disease than non-users at 0.53 versus 4.70 percent.

The authors said that their findings are consistent with a recent meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.
“Despite the inherent limitations of observational studies and a small number of TZD users, the study supports that TZD usage may have an anticancer benefit in Type 2 diabetes,” concludes the team.

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