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17-05-2017 | Neuro-oncology | News | Article

Reduced glioma risk associated with hyperglycemia confirmed

medwireNews: Individuals with high blood sugar levels appear to have a reduced risk for developing glioma, according to an analysis of two large population-based cohorts.

The researchers say that their study provides “further evidence of an inverse association between hyperglycaemia, diabetes and glioma,” an association that could potentially be due to “excess glucose consumption by the preclinical tumour.”

Speaking to medwireNews, Medicine Matters advisory board member Michael Weller (University Hospital Zurich, Switzerland) commented that the hypothesis seems unlikely, as compared with other cancers, gliomas are small in terms of overall tumor load. But he added that although the theory has been around for some time, the evidence provided by the current research is stronger due to the large number of participants.

“The data are compelling and certainly bear further exploration,” Weller said.

During a median follow-up of 7 years, 604 of 528,580 participants of the Apolipoprotein Mortality Risk (AMORIS) cohort developed glioma, as did 208 of 269,365 members of the Austrian and Swedish sub-cohorts of the Metabolic syndrome and Cancer project (Me-Can), giving a respective incidence of 7.6 and 6.4 cases per 100,000 person–years.

The glioma risk was significantly lower for individuals with blood glucose levels of at least 6.1 mmol/L before the glioma diagnosis than for those with prediagnosis levels below 4.6 mmol/L, both in the AMORIS and Me-Can cohorts, with adjusted hazard ratios (HRs) of 0.59 and 0.58, respectively.

As published in Scientific Reports, the association was strongest when blood glucose levels were measured in the year prior to glioma diagnosis, but this finding was only significant in the AMORIS, and not the Me-Can, cohort.

In the AMORIS cohort, Judith Schwartzbaum (Ohio State University, Columbus, USA) and colleagues also found an association between prediagnostic diabetes and reduced glioma risk (HR=0.30), although this was based on just 12 cases of glioma. Data on prediagnostic diabetes were not available for the Me-Can participants.

“Our research raises questions that, when answered, will lead to a better understanding of the mechanisms involved in glioma development,” Schwartzbaum said to the press.

Michael Weller said that although there are no immediate clinical implications – “you cannot acquire diabetes just to avoid glioma” – there are researchers, including himself, who are interested in and are already investigating the association between antidiabetic drug use and glioma.

“This falls into the interesting area of drug repurposing, seeing whether drugs that are already available for another indication could be at least a small addition to a treatment situation where we have relatively little to offer,” he remarked.

By Shreeya Nanda

medwireNews is an independent medical news service provided by Springer Healthcare. © 2017 Springer Healthcare part of the Springer Nature group

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