Study Says Low-Level Actos Users May Still Face Bladder Cancer Risk, According to Cancer Monthly

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Research on more than 11,000 Korean users of the diabetes drug pioglitazone finds that smaller doses are no protection against bladder cancer.

Low Dose Actos and Bladder Cancer

Use of pioglitazone for a duration of > 6 months...was associated with an increased rate of bladder cancer...

A new article published in the Journal of Korean Medical Science and reported by Cancer Monthly finds that diabetics who have been treated with pioglitazone (Actos) for more than 6 months may still face a higher risk of bladder cancer, even if they were on a low dose.

The retrospective study focused on more than 112,000 diabetic patients, including 11,240 who had been treated with pioglitazone. Patients had to have visited one of four tertiary referral hospitals in Korea for care at least twice between November 2005 and June 2011.

Among the 101,953 diabetes patients who had never been treated with pioglitazone, 237 patients developed bladder cancer. Thirty of the 11,240 pioglitazone-treated patients were eventually diagnosed with bladder cancer. When the researchers adjusted the numbers to account for other risk factors, they found that patients who had been on low (15 mg) doses of pioglitazone for more than 6 months had a higher risk of bladder cancer than the control group. They also had a higher risk than those who had been on low-dose pioglitazone for less than 6 months. These patients are referred to in the study as "ever users".

“Use of pioglitazone for a duration of > 6 months, but not ever use of pioglitazone, was associated with an increased rate of bladder cancer as compared to never use of pioglitazone,” the researches explain in a summary of their data. Although the data cannot quantify an exact risk of bladder cancer with Actos use, the researchers confirm that they “failed to exclude” the possible association between use of pioglitazone for more than 6 months and bladder cancer.

Pioglitazone was once the 10th most popular drug in the US. In 2011, the FDA required the drug’s manufacturer to add the risk of bladder cancer to its Warnings and Precautions. There have now been several wrongful death lawsuits against the makers of Actos and the drug is banned in some countries.

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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Michael Ellis
Cancer Monthy
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