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No Cancer Risk From Long-Acting Insulin: Studies
Date:6/12/2012

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, June 11 (HealthDay News) -- Three studies should squelch fears that taking a form of insulin called insulin glargine (Lantus) increases the risk of cancer, researchers say.

Prior research had suggested an increase in cancer risk with Lantus, an injectable drug used to treat diabetes. "But, the worry we had that Lantus might be associated with cancer seems not to be the case, and people should continue using insulin," said Dr. Spyros Mezitis, an endocrinologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, who wasn't involved in these studies.

Lantus is a long-acting insulin, meaning patients need only one shot a day, rather than multiple injections, and it's easy to use, Mezitis added.

People using glargine often have type 1 diabetes, a condition in which the body can't make insulin, which is needed to regulate the amount of sugar in the blood. People with type 2 diabetes, the form linked to being overweight and sedentary, may also take insulin if lifestyle and dietary changes don't control their blood-sugar levels.

In the United States, where obesity and type 2 diabetes are soaring, Mezitis said he expects to see many more insulin users in years to come.

In each study, researchers wanted to see if there was any connection between daily doses of insulin and cancer.

The results were scheduled for presentation Monday at a meeting of the American Diabetes Association in Philadelphia.

In one study, Laurel Habel, a research scientist at the Kaiser Permanente Northern California Division of Research, and colleagues looked at the risk of cancer among 115,000 patients taking either glargine or an intermediate-acting insulin called NPH. This is usually taken twice a day.

"We looked at prostate, breast and colon cancer and all cancers combined," Habel said. "We saw no evidence that there was any relationship between glargine and the risk
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