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Does diabetes lower risk of brain cancer?

While many cancers are more common among those with diabetes, cancerous brain tumors called gliomas are less common among those with elevated blood sugar and diabetes, a study from Ohio State University, Columbus, has found. The discovery builds on previous research showing that high blood sugar appears to reduce a person's risk of a noncancerous brain tumor called meningioma. Both studies were led by Judith Schwartzbaum, associate professor of epidemiology and a researcher at the Comprehensive Cancer Center.

"Diabetes and elevated blood sugar increase the risk of cancer at several sites, including the colon, breast, and bladder but, in this case, these rare malignant brain tumors are more common among people who have normal levels of blood glucose than those with high blood sugar or diabetes. Our research raises questions that, when answered, will lead to a better understanding of the mechanisms involved in glioma development."

Glioma is one of the most-common types of cancerous tumors originating in the brain. It begins in the cells that surround nerve cells and help them function. The disease typically is diagnosed in middle age. At present, there is no treatment that ensures long-term survival, but several potential options are being studied.

The brain accounts for about two percent of body weight, but consumes about 20% of the body's available glucose. Schwartzbaum and her collaborators evaluated blood sugar and diabetes data and its relationship to subsequent development of brain cancer and found that those with elevated blood sugar and diabetes had a lower risk of developing glioma.

"This really prompts the question, 'Why is the association between blood glucose levels and brain cancer the opposite of that for several other cancerous tumors?'"

The researchers found that this relationship was strongest within a year of cancer diagnosis. "This may suggest that the tumor itself affects blood glucose levels or that elevated blood sugar or diabetes may paradoxically be associated with a protective factor that reduces brain tumor risk. For example, insulin-like growth factor is associated with glioma recurrence and is found in lower levels in people with diabetes than those who don't have the disease."

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Title Annotation:Blood Sugar
Publication:USA Today (Magazine)
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 1, 2017
Words:350
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