GPL-1 medication

Links have previously been discovered and documented between cancer and type 2 diabetes. However, researchers have found that personalizing therapy and medication can eliminate a lot of the risks linking these two diseases.

Research from the Department of Medicine III and the Section for Science of Complex Systems at MedUni Vienna has shown that using precision medicine can help to reduce the combination risk.

Alexandra Kautzky-Willer, who worked on the study, explained that “Cancer and diabetes share common risk factors such as being overweight, smoking, poor eating habits, lack of exercise, insulin resistance, inflammatory and hormonal changes and, on top of that, poorly controlled diabetes with high blood glucose levels can increase the cancer risk.”

A statistical survey of 1.85 million Austrians was used to analyze the risks of these two diseases together. Around 300,000 of these people had type 2 diabetes and, between them, were treated with around 300 different drug combinations.

The researchers checked these combinations against the health outcomes of the patients. According to the analysis, insulin stimulating drugs, when used as treatment, were associated with a higher risk of cancer than insulin inhibitors. This was especially prominent in cases of pancreatic cancer in both men and women; in liver cancer in men; and in lymphoma in women.

“However, if statins are taken at the same time, this risk is massively reduced, even down to zero as compared with non-diabetic patients,” says Kautzky-Willer.

Peter Klimek, who also worked on the study, added that “This shows that it is possible to optimize individual treatments to substantially reduce the general cancer risk for diabetes patients. In today’s precision medicine, we have a wide selection of drugs available to us and possible combination treatments that would make this possible.”

Personalized, precision medicine is argued to be the future of healthcare. Using more data per patient, doctors should theoretically be able to maximize health outcomes by personalizing treatments and therapies based on each person.

The study was published in the Journal of Internal Medicine