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New Study Suggests Pioglitazone Does Not Increase Bladder Cancer Risk

Increased risk for prostate and pancreatic cancer associated with use of drug…

A recent study published in JAMA looked at long-term data from nearly 200,000 diabetes patients to revisit the debate of whether pioglitazone significantly increases the risk of bladder cancer in patients or not. In the process, researchers also evaluated other potential cancers associated with pioglitazone.

Pioglitazone is currently used in nearly 25% of diabetes patients for treatment and this study serves as findings from ten years of observational follow-up to further evaluate its risks. Prior studies were short-term and suggested a significant increased risk of bladder cancer.

Patient cohorts of adults aged 40 or older were taken from Kaiser Permanente Northern California with record of specific cancer incidence (bladder, prostate, pancreatic, etc) and whether the patient had taken pioglitazone. This information was used to develop hazards ratios.

The authors noted an adjusted odds ratio that was non-significant for pioglitazone and increased bladder cancer risk. Nonetheless, the authors specified there was a noted increased bladder cancer risk, but the data is not statistically significant.

While evaluating other cancer cohorts, the authors did find an increased risk for prostate and pancreatic cancer associated with pioglitazone use. These findings will need to be further explored to see if they are random, confounding or due to reverse causality.

Practice Pearls:

  • A recent follow-up and expanded time frame has explored the debate of whether pioglitazone increases the risk of bladder cancer development in type 2 diabetes patients.
  • While the authors suggest there is no significant increased risk, they presented newer findings about pioglitazone showing an increased risk of pancreatic and prostate cancer development.
  • More research will be continued to evaluate these new findings and understand the risks of pioglitazone use.Same. Good info but wordier than usual.

Lewis, James D., Laurel A. Habel, Charles P. et al. “Pioglitazone Use and Risk of Bladder Cancer and Other Common Cancers in Persons With Diabetes.” JAMA (2015): 265. Web. 31 July 2015.

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