Meta-Analysis Shows Human Insulin Does Not Increase Bladder Cancer Risk, According to Cancer Monthly

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Taiwanese author says his research should relieve concern among diabetics that insulin might raise their cancer risk.

This study relieves the concern of a bladder cancer risk associated with human insulin.

Cancer Monthly is reporting on a recently-published meta-analysis of diabetes patients that appears to show no increased risk of bladder cancer as a result of using human insulin.

The large-scale study analyzed the health insurance reimbursement databases of 785,234 type 2 diabetes patients from 1996 to 2009. In 2009, the entire database was examined for cases of bladder cancer. To ensure that the study data was not impacted by other potential bladder cancer risks, the study excluded patients on pioglitazone (Actos), which has been shown to increase the risk of bladder cancer in diabetics. Patients on a human insulin analog called insulin glargine were also excluded.

Among the 785,000 study subjects, about 88,000 had used human insulin. The remaining 697,294 patients had never used human insulin. Among the so-called “ever-users”, there were 454 cases of bladder cancer, representing an incidence rate of 0.52%. Among the patients who had never used human insulin, there were 3,330 cases of bladder cancer, making an incidence rate of 0.48%. The small difference between the two incidence rates was not enough to be considered statistically significant.

Although the author found varying bladder cancer risks among people of different ages and on different doses of human insulin, these differences became insignificant when all the risk factors were adjusted. Writing on his findings in the online open-access medical journal PLoS One, author Chin-Hsiao Tseng of the National Taiwan University College of Medicine says, “This study relieves the concern of a bladder cancer risk associated with human insulin.”

Dr. Tseng points out that “appropriate adjustment for confounders”, or other factors that could influence bladder cancer development, is an important part of evaluating the extent to which medications such as Actos increase the risk. The article was originally published on the PLos One website. (Tseng, CH, “Human insulin does not increase bladder cancer risk”, January 20, 2014, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0086517,

According to the National Cancer Institute, there were about 73,000 new cases of bladder cancer in the U.S. in 2013. The risk of bladder cancer is increased about around 40% in type 2 diabetes. Smoking, certain chemicals and treatment with Actos have all been associated with higher risk.

For over ten years, Cancer Monthly has been the only centralized source of cancer treatment results. Patients can see the actual survival rate, quality-of-life indicators, and other key data for approximately 1,500 different cancer treatments. Cancer Monthly provides timely and ground-breaking news on the causes, diagnoses and treatments of the most common cancers including Bladder, Brain, Breast, Colon, Kidney (Renal), Liver, Lung (NSCLC), Ovarian, Prostate and Rectal Cancers, Melanoma, Mesothelioma, and Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Written for patients and their loved ones, Cancer Monthly helps families make more informed treatment decisions.

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