Diabetes Drugs Don't Increase Bladder Cancer Risk

December 8, 2014

In a large, international study, pioglitazone (Actos) and rosiglitazone (Avandia) did not lead to an increased risk for bladder cancer, contradicting previous studies that suggested the opposite.

The authors of a large, international study found that pioglitazone (Actos) and rosiglitazone (Avandia) did not lead to an increased risk for bladder cancer, contradicting previous studies that suggested the diabetes drugs did.

Additionally, long-term exposure to the medications, which increase the body’s ability to respond to insulin, did not increase bladder cancer risks.

In the study led by Samira Bell, MD, of the Renal Unit of Ninewells Hospital and Medical School, data was observed from more than 1 million patients with type 2 diabetes from the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.

Researchers followed patients for approximately 4 to 7 years examining the effects of pioglitazone and rosiglitazone on bladder cancer. No additional risk of bladder cancer was found among diabetic patients who took the medications, even for extended periods of time, compared to those who did not take the medications at all.

The study authors pointed out that previous studies of pioglitazone and rosiglitazone did not draw from a large, international pool of patients.

This study, which was funded by the European Foundation for the Study of Diabetes, was published in Diabetologia on December 3, 2014.