Skip to main content

16-04-2012 | Diabetes | Article

TZDs linked to reduced cancer risk in diabetes patients


Free abstract

MedWire News: Thiazolidinediones (TZDs) might reduce cancer risk in Type 2 diabetes patients, show study findings.

"TZD usage was associated with an 83% reduction in cancer risk in Chinese patients with Type 2 diabetes," report Xilin Yang (The Chinese University of Hong Kong, China) and colleagues.

"Apart from promoting preadipocyte differentiation and reducing ectopic fat distribution with improved insulin sensitivity and reduced inflammation, TZDs possess antimitotic and anticancer effects in experimental studies," explain the researchers.

Using the Hong Kong Diabetes Registry, the team examined whether TZD use had an anticancer benefit in 6074 Chinese individuals with Type 2 diabetes who were free of cancer at enrollment. The cohort was enrolled consecutively between 1 December 1996 and 8 January 2005 and the registry contained complete drug dispensary data for all patients including start and end dates for each drug of interest.

The researchers assessed the association between TZD use and incidence of fatal or nonfatal cancer among the cohort over a median follow-up period of 4.93 years.

As reported in Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice, 376 (6.19%) of the 6074 patients were TZD users, with 58 using pioglitazone (median daily dosage, 20 mg), 313 taking rosiglitazone (median daily dosage, 4 mg), and five patients taking both medications.

By the end of the follow-up period, 270 (4.45%) of the overall cohort developed cancer, with a significantly lower proportion of the TZD users developing the disease than nonusers, at 0.53% versus 4.70%.

Cox regression modeling revealed that TZD usage was significantly associated with lower cancer risk than nonuse, at a hazard ratio of 0.17.

The authors say their findings are consistent with a recent meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials, which reported that rosiglitazone-treated patients had a significantly lower incidence of cancer than control patients.

"Despite the inherent limitations of observational studies and a small number of TZD users, the study supports that TZD usage may have an anticancer benefit in Type 2 diabetes," concludes the team.

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2012

By Sally Robertson

See the research in context now

with trial summaries, expert opinion and congress coverage

Image Credits