NOVEMBER 01, 2006

Drug Therapy for Prostate Cancer May Up Diabetes Risk

Men with prostate cancer face new risks—diabetes and heart disease, according to a Harvard study. The researchers collected data on 73,196 men, aged 66 and older, diagnosed with prostate cancer from 1992 to 1999. The participants were followed through 2001. Of the patients, one third were given a gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonist drug.

The results of the study, reported in the Journal of Clinical Oncology (September 20, 2006), indicated that men receiving a GnRH agonist had a 44% increased risk of diabetes, a 16% increased risk of coronary heart disease, an 11% greater risk of a heart attack, and a 16% increased risk of sudden cardiac death. The researchers also found that men who had bilateral orchiectomy (removal of the testes) faced a 34% increased risk of developing diabetes. Heart disease, heart attack, or sudden cardiac death did not rise in this group.

Japanese Adults with Diabetes Face Cancer Threat

Cancers of the liver, pancreas, and kidney are a higher risk for Japanese adults with diabetes, according to a study reported in the Archives of Internal Medicine (September 25, 2006). Although researchers have suspected that there may be a correlation between diabetes and cancer, no conclusive evidence has been obtained.

The study looked at the association in 97,771 Japanese patients (45,548 men and 51,223 women), aged 40 to 69, who were enrolled in the study between 1990 and 1994. At the study onset, the participants were asked to complete a lifestyle questionnaire that included information about smoking, alcohol consumption, medical history, physical activity, and food and beverage intake. The patients were also asked if they had ever been diagnosed with diabetes or taken diabetes medications.

At the beginning of the study, 6.7% (3097 men) and 3.1% (1571 women) had a history of diabetes. By the study's follow-up in 2003, 6462 participants had developed cancer, including 3097 men (366 of whom had diabetes) and 2555 women (104 with diabetes). The study's findings indicated that men with diabetes had a 27% higher danger of developing cancer, compared with patients without the disease. Specifically, the risk was higher for liver, kidney, and pancreatic cancer. Of the women, those with diabetes had a 21% greater risk of cancer, compared with women without the disease. There was a dramatically higher risk for stomach and liver cancer and a borderline higher risk for ovarian cancer, however.

Changing Diabetes Bus Tour Hits the Road

"A global drive to change diabetes" is the motto Novo Nordisk is using for its Changing Diabetes Bus—a 1 1/2-year initiative around the world to raise awareness about diabetes. Individuals passing by, as well as patients with diabetes, or health care professionals and decision makers, can learn something new about diabetes.

Each corner of the bus features a key theme in the fight against diabetes. Furthermore, plasma video screens, computers, and the opportunity to have a diabetes test or a body mass index measurement taken will keep visitors busy and entertained while they receive an overview of the past, present, and possible future scenarios of diabetes.

The Changing Diabetes Bus is an important part of reaching the goal of calling for change on a global level. Novo Nordisk is supporting the Unite for Diabetes campaign led by the International Diabetes Federation. The mission of this campaign is to secure support from governments around the world to call for adoption of a United Nations Resolution on diabetes by World Diabetes Day on November 14, 2007.

Disease Worse for Younger Patients

Younger individuals are more apt to experience a worsening of type 2 diabetes, compared with patients diagnosed at an older age. The current study looked for nongenetic factors that influence a continuous rise in glycosylated hemoglobin A1C (HbA1C). The researchers followed >1200 patients with type 2 diabetes for 7 years after their diagnosis.

The researchers found that HbA1C improved at 1 year after diagnosis. During the subsequent 6 years, however, HbA1C increased as expected. The participants required insulin therapy after an average 2.5 years. After 7 years, 47% of the patients were taking insulin therapy. Specifically, the patients who were younger than 50 when they were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes experienced a greater increase in HbA1C.

The increase in HbA1C concentrations in patients diagnosed before the age of 50 was associated with an impaired ability of pancreas cells to produce insulin. In a follow-up study, the researchers plan to investigate whether genetic factors can alter these relationships. (The study's findings were recently presented at the 42nd annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes.)

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