(HealthDay News) — Insulin sensitizers, particularly thiazolidinedione use, may reduce the risk of cancer in female patients with type 2 diabetes, according to research published online Dec. 5 in Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism.

Grace E. Ching Sun, D.O., from the Cleveland Clinic, and colleagues retrospectively analyzed the electronic health record-based Cleveland Clinic Diabetes Registry (25,613 patients) and cross-indexed it with the histology-based tumor registry (48,051 cancer occurrences) over an eight-year period (1998 to 2006).

The researchers found that over the study period there were 892 incident cancer cases. Prostate and breast cancers were the most common (14.5 and 11.7 percent, respectively). The cancer risk in women was decreased 32 percent with thiazolidinedione use compared with sulphonylurea use (hazard ratio [HR], 0.68). The cancer risk was reduced 21 percent with insulin sensitizers (biguanides and thiazolidinediones) compared to insulin secretagogues (sulphonylureas and meglitinides) (HR, 0.79). In men there were no differences in oral diabetes therapies and risk of cancer.

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“Oral insulin sensitizers are associated with decreased malignancy risk in women with type 2 diabetes mellitus,” Sun and colleagues conclude.

One author disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry; the diabetes registry was supported by funds from the pharmaceutical industry.

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