Chinese Study Suggests Actos/Bladder Cancer Link, According to Cancer Monthly

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Another meta-analysis has confirmed an increased risk of bladder cancer among diabetes patients who have taken the drug Actos (pioglitazone).

Actos and Bladder Cancer Risk

Our results suggest an increased risk of bladder cancer in diabetic patients using pioglitazone (Actos)...

Cancer Monthly is reporting on a published study that appears to be more bad news for the manufacturers of the once-popular diabetes drug, Actos. The drug, also known as pioglitazone, was designed to help with glycemic control, but multiple studies have shown a connection between Actos and bladder cancer.

In a report in Tumour Biology, scientists at the Wu Qing District People’s Hospital in Tianjin, China detailed the results of their meta-analysis of 9 available studies on diabetics and Actos. Together, the studies included more than 2.5 million diabetic patients and the researchers say the results were clear: “The result suggested an increased risk of bladder cancer in patients exposed to pioglitazone (Actos),” they write.

The bladder cancer risk seen with Actos use persisted in the analysis, even after the data was adjusted for age, gender and use of other diabetes medications. While both male and female diabetic patients had an elevated incidence of bladder cancer with Actos use, the risk appeared to be somewhat higher in men than in women. In addition, the Chinese team found the highest risk of bladder cancer among patients who were on the highest doses of Actos and among those who had been on the drug the longest.

“With some imitations, our results suggest an increased risk of bladder cancer in diabetic patients using pioglitazone, especially for men with long-term and high-dose exposure,” the authors conclude in Tumour Biology. (He, S, “Pioglitazone prescription increases risk of bladder cancer in patients with type 2 diabetes: an updated meta-analysis”, October 2013, Tumour Biology, Epub ahead of print,

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Michael Ellis
Cancer Monthy
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