Diabetes and Pancreatic Cancer
Research suggests a possible link between type 2 diabetes and several malignancies. Animal models have shown that hyperinsulinemic state underlying diabetes promotes tumor formation through stimulation of insulin-IGF-1 pathway; a possible role of inflammation is also proposed. One such link which has been under considerable study for years is that between diabetes and pancreatic cancer. Although epidemiological evidence points towards a reciprocal link between the two, the cause-effect relationship still remains unclear. This link was the subject of a large German epidemiological study presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting 2014 (Abstract #1604), which underscored the link between diabetes and some cancers. Schmidt et al. performed a retrospective database analysis over a 12 year period and reported an increased risk of certain types of cancer in diabetic patients. The most significant association (HR 2.17) was found for pancreatic cancer. Given the high mortality of pancreatic cancer, prevention through timely screening could play an important role in improving prognosis. Older subjects with recent-onset diabetes represent a high-risk group and hence are potential targets for pancreatic cancer screening thereby enabling its early diagnosis at a curable stage.
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