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Insulin and Breast Cancer Risk

Sep 13, 2013

In contrast to findings from previous studies, the development of breast cancer is not tied to insulin use, a new study says… 

In the past few years several studies indicated a possible link between the long-acting insulin, glargine, and the development of breast cancer. In a current study led by Grimaldi et al, the relationship between different types of insulin and the development of breast cancer were analyzed.

In the study, 775 breast cancer cases in women with diabetes from areas in the U.K., Canada, and France were paired to a mean of 3.9 diabetic community controls by country, age, recruitment data, type of diabetes and treatment. Based on the patients’ data, a risk model was developed and factors such as "past use of any insulin, oral anti-diabetic drugs, reproductive factors, lifestyle, education, hormone replacement therapy" were controlled for.

The researchers looked at the effects of insulin glargine, lispro, and aspart on breast cancer occurrence. They found that each type of insulin had no effect on this risk and the likelihood of developing breast cancer was similar between non-insulin users and insulin users. The duration of insulin use, insulin dosage, and tumor stage had no significance on the observed results.

Grimaldi-Bensouda et al. Risk of breast cancer by individual insulin use – an international multicenter study. Diabetes Care. 2013.