Do cancer patients have high blood sugar?

High blood sugar, high risk

TAIPEH. There appears to be a linear relationship between the levels of fasting glucose in the blood and the risk of developing carcinoma of the pancreas.

An increase in the glucose concentration of 10 mg / dl increases the risk of carcinoma in the pancreas by 14 percent, as a team of scientists led by Wie-Chih Liao from the National Taiwan University College of Medicine, Taipei, calculated (BMJ 2015; 349: g7371).

The researchers carried out a meta-analysis of nine prospective studies with a total of 2048 pancreatic cancer patients.

Retrospective or cross-sectional studies were not included in the investigation in order to rule out the influence of reverse causality - pancreatic cancer causes diabetes in 40 percent of patients.

Notice for cancer prevention

The correlation persisted even after Liao and colleagues limited their calculations to glucose levels below 126 mg / dL. Here, the 10 mg increase in blood glucose resulted in a 15 percent increased risk of pancreatic cancer.

This means that the influence of blood glucose on cancer development would not be limited to concentrations in the diabetic range. Rather, prediabetic values ​​should be viewed as a relevant risk factor.

The researchers from Taiwan see their results as an important indicator for cancer prevention.

"The early detection of prediabetes, combined with a changed lifestyle, could represent a viable strategy to curb the rising incidence of pancreatic cancer," they write in the conclusions of their study.

Because a prediabetic metabolic situation can be improved or even reversed through an appropriate lifestyle.

Does Glucose Fuel Tumor Growth?

Liao and his colleagues suspect that increased glucose concentrations meet the high sugar requirements of pancreatic cancer cells and thus fuel tumor growth.

According to another hypothesis, the chronic hyperinsulinemia associated with higher glucose levels could also play a role.

Experiments have shown that insulin on the one hand promotes the proliferation of cancer cells and on the other hand reduces apoptosis.

Both mechanisms depend directly or indirectly on the increased availability of the growth factor insulin-like growth factor 1.

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