Insulin treatment of type 2 diabetes and the risk of cancer

  • 20. 7. 2009

Opinion of the Committee of the Czech Society for Oncology, Czech Medical Association of J. E. Purkyne

Several articles have recently been published in scientific literature (Diabetologia) that compare the safety of insulin administration in type II diabetics with relation to the type of insulin administered and the development of cancer.

The Czech Society for Oncology has actively supported preventive efforts to reduce the risk of cancer development. The said articles, however, do not describe the results of clinical studies. Rather, they describe a random retrospective follow-up of patients treated for type II diabetes. This follow-up is often based on inaccurate data, such as the registries of health insurance companies, and fails to respect the basic principles for comparative studies.

The Committee of the Czech Society for Oncology has not found any information in the published articles that could be considered valid and is convinced that the conclusions of these articles are misleading and spreading panic among diabetes patients.

Diabetes and related conditions (metabolic syndrome) are factors that increase the risk of cancer development. However, when a diabetic patient has to be treated with insulin and its derivatives due to the progression of the disease, no facts are known to the Czech Society for Oncology that could be used to determine the cancer risk index in relation to the type of insulin administered. Such information can be obtained only from prospective, randomised, direct comparative studies.

Brno, 20 July 2009

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