A high dose of insulin increases the risk of cancer -

High doses of insulin in type 1 diabetes, a risk factor for cancer

High doses of insulin in people with type 1 diabetes appear to significantly increase the risk of developing cancer. If necessary, cancer screening tests and insulin dosage recommendations should be adjusted accordingly.

Studies on people with type 1 diabetes show a link between high doses of insulin and the occurrence of cancer. The results of the corresponding study were published in the specialist journal "JAMA Oncology".

type 1 diabetes and cancer

"Type 1 diabetes accounts for about 5-10% of all diabetes cases, and recent studies have also found a higher incidence of certain cancers such as cancers of the stomach, liver, pancreas, stomach, endometrium and kidney in type 1 diabetes (...)," reports study leader Dr. Yuanjie Mao of the Ohio University Diabetes Institute.

However, none of these studies looked at individual risk factors for cancer incidence in type 1 diabetes. This has now been done in the new research work.

Assessment of individual risk factors

In collaboration with epidemiologist Wenjun Zhong of Merck Research Labs in Pennsylvania (USA), Dr. Mao examined more than 50 risk factors, including smoking, alcohol consumption and family history, to determine their relevance for cancer in people with type 1 diabetes.

To this end, data from 1,303 people with type 1 diabetes from the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT) were evaluated, which were collected over a period of 28 years.

To determine the influence of insulin dose, participants were divided into three groups: low dose with less than 0.5 units per kilogram, medium dose with 0.5 to 0.8 units per kilogram, and high dose with 0.8 units per kilogram or more.

Cancer risk increases with high doses of insulin

Data analysis showed a significantly increased risk of cancer in the high-dose insulin group compared to the low-dose group, the researchers report. The data also shows that people with insulin resistance are particularly at risk.

In the current study, common metabolic risk factors such as obesity, hemoglobin (A1c) levels, and high blood pressure were not associated with an increased risk of cancer in people with type 1 diabetes. 1, explains dr. mao

"We know that people with type 1 diabetes are more likely to develop cancer than people without diabetes," said Dr. Liz Beverly, co-director of the Diabetes Institute at Ohio University. Current research identifies a possible mechanism to explain this association.

The new findings will lead to further research in this area and possibly also to changes in cancer screening and insulin dosing recommendations, Dr. Beverly said. (fp)

Author and source information

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This text corresponds to the specifications of the specialized medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been verified by health professionals.


Ohio University: JAMA Study, Led by Heritage College Faculty, Finds Association Between High Insulin Dose and Cancer (Published 2022/07/29), ohio.eduWenjun Zhong, Yuanjie Mao: Daily Dose insulin levels and cancer risk in patients with type 1 diabetes; in: JAMA Oncology (published 2022-07-28), jamanetwork.com

Important Note:
This article contains general advice only and should not be used for self-diagnosis or treatment. It cannot substitute a visit to the doctor.