July 13, 2024

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Semaglutide Associated with Significant Reduction in Risk for 10 Types of Cancer?

Semaglutide Associated with Significant Reduction in Risk for 10 Types of Cancer?



Semaglutide Associated with Significant Reduction in Risk for 10 Types of Cancer?

In recent years, semaglutide has gained worldwide popularity for its effectiveness in treating type 2 diabetes and promoting weight loss. With its widespread use, attention has also turned to its potential side effects. For instance, Nature recently reported an association between semaglutide and unintended pregnancies. Additionally, a study published in JAMA Ophthalmology linked semaglutide to a rare form of blindness.

Despite these potential side effects, the weight loss benefits of semaglutide are well recognized. Given the established link between obesity and increased cancer risk, the question arises: Can semaglutide reduce cancer risk?

On July 5, 2024, a research team led by Professor Rong Xu from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine published a paper in JAMA Network Open titled “Glucagon-Like Peptide 1 Receptor Agonists and 13 Obesity-Associated Cancers in Patients With Type 2 Diabetes”[1].

The study compared type 2 diabetes patients treated with insulin and those treated with semaglutide between 2005 and 2018. The results showed that patients treated with GLP-1 receptor agonists (including semaglutide and liraglutide) had a significantly lower risk of 10 out of 13 obesity-associated cancers. These cancers included gallbladder cancer, meningioma, pancreatic cancer, hepatocellular carcinoma, ovarian cancer, colorectal cancer, multiple myeloma, esophageal cancer, endometrial cancer, and kidney cancer.

 

Semaglutide Associated with Significant Reduction in Risk for 10 Types of Cancer?

 

 

In 2016, the International Agency for Research on Cancer of the World Health Organization published a paper in the New England Journal of Medicine[2], highlighting the association between obesity and increased risk and poor prognosis for 13 types of cancer. These obesity-associated cancers (OACs) include esophageal cancer, breast cancer, colorectal cancer, endometrial cancer, gallbladder cancer, stomach cancer, kidney cancer, ovarian cancer, pancreatic cancer, thyroid cancer, hepatocellular carcinoma, meningioma, and multiple myeloma. Obesity can also lead to insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes (T2D), further increasing the risk and poor prognosis of obesity-associated cancers.

While GLP-1 receptor agonists like semaglutide are effective in treating type 2 diabetes and promoting weight loss, their relationship with the risk of the 13 obesity-associated cancers (OACs) remains unclear.

To investigate the potential cancer-preventive benefits of GLP-1 receptor agonists, the research team compared the incidence of the 13 OACs in type 2 diabetes patients treated with GLP-1 receptor agonists, insulin, or metformin. The retrospective cohort study utilized a nationwide multicenter electronic health records database of 113 million U.S. patients. The study population included 1,651,452 type 2 diabetes patients without prior diagnoses of the 13 OACs who received treatment with GLP-1 receptor agonists, insulin, or metformin between March 2005 and November 2018. Data analysis was conducted on April 26, 2024.

The analysis revealed that compared to insulin, GLP-1 receptor agonists were associated with a significantly lower risk of 10 out of the 13 OACs, including gallbladder cancer (hazard ratio=0.35), meningioma (hazard ratio=0.37), pancreatic cancer (hazard ratio=0.41), hepatocellular carcinoma (hazard ratio=0.47), ovarian cancer (hazard ratio=0.52), colorectal cancer (hazard ratio=0.54), multiple myeloma (hazard ratio=0.59), esophageal cancer (hazard ratio=0.60), endometrial cancer (hazard ratio=0.74), and kidney cancer (hazard ratio=0.76). There was no statistically significant reduction in the risk of stomach cancer, and no association with reduced risk for postmenopausal breast cancer or thyroid cancer.

Compared to metformin, GLP-1 receptor agonists were associated with a lower risk of colorectal and gallbladder cancers, but the risk reduction was not statistically significant. However, GLP-1 receptor agonists were associated with an increased risk of kidney cancer (hazard ratio=1.54).

Overall, the study indicates that GLP-1 receptor agonists are associated with a reduced incidence of certain obesity-associated cancers in type 2 diabetes patients compared to insulin. These findings provide preliminary evidence for the potential cancer-preventive benefits of GLP-1 receptor agonists in high-risk populations and support further preclinical and clinical research on preventing specific OACs.

Professor Rong Xu noted that obesity is known to be associated with at least 13 types of cancer. This study demonstrates that GLP-1 receptor agonists may help break the link between obesity and cancer. The protective benefits shown in the study may encourage physicians to prescribe GLP-1 receptor agonists to diabetes patients instead of insulin and other medications.

Related Studies:

In May 2024, Professor Rong Xu’s team published a study in Nature Communications titled “Associations of semaglutide with incidence and recurrence of alcohol use disorder in real-world population”[3]. This study found that semaglutide was associated with a reduction in the incidence and recurrence of alcohol use disorder, suggesting a potential new treatment method for excessive drinking, including alcohol use disorder.

In March 2024, the team published another study in Molecular Psychiatry titled “Association of semaglutide with reduced incidence and relapse of cannabis use disorder in real-world populations: a retrospective cohort study”[3]. This study showed that semaglutide was associated with reduced incidence and relapse of cannabis use disorder.

In January 2024, the team published a study in Nature Medicine titled “Association of semaglutide with risk of suicidal ideations in a real-world cohort”[4]. This study found no association between semaglutide use and increased suicidal ideations, and it actually reduced suicidal ideations.

 

Semaglutide Associated with Significant Reduction in Risk for 10 Types of Cancer?

Reference Links:

  1. JAMA Network Open Article
  2. NEJM Article
  3. Nature Communications Article
  4. Nature Medicine Article

(source:internet, reference only)


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