Fasting C-peptide levels and breast cancer death in women with breast cancer: The Health, Eating, Activity and Lifestyle (HEAL) Study. Abstract no. B99:
Women with invasive breast cancer and high blood levels of C-peptide (a marker of insulin secretion) face a risk of death nearly three times higher than women with lower blood levels of C-peptide, according to findings from the Health, Eating, Activity and Lifestyle (HEAL) Study, a long-term observational study of breast cancer patients. The effect was most notable, researchers say, among women in their 40s.
While previous research has demonstrated that insulin stimulates the growth of breast cancer cells in the laboratory, few studies have examined the link between fasting insulin or C-peptide levels and breast cancer prognosis. Women with invasive breast cancer meaning the cancer had spread throughout the breast tissue or to surrounding tissues faced the greatest risk from high C-peptide levels, the researchers say, but the association was detected in nearly all women studied, regardless of whether or not their cancer had spread.
When looking at risk of diabetes and hypertension, breast cancer survivors really should talk to their oncologist about how to lower their insulin levels, said Melinda L. Irwin, Ph.D., M.P.H., assistant professor at Yale Universitys School of Public Health. The simple message is that breast cancer patients should take proven steps to lower their blood insulin levels, including exercise and eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables and low in fat.
The HEAL Study is a National Cancer Institute initiative designed to examine the links between diet, physical activity, body fat, and breast cancer prognosis. Patients enrolled in the HEAL Study -- including those participating in the study reported here were diagnosed or treated at the Fred Hutchin
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American Association for Cancer Research