Can Insulin Levels of Breast Cancer Patients Affect Their Prognosis?


logo1267406_mdA new study presented at the Advanced Breast Cancer Third International Consensus Conference recently reported that patients with breast cancer that has metastasized  to other parts of the body and who have higher insulin levels than normal, but are not diabetic, have a significantly worse prognosis compared with those with normal insulin levels.

In the study 125 metastatic breast cancer patients who were non diabetic and all with HER2 negative tumors  receiving first line chemotherapy as part of a clinical tria were includedl. The relationship of insulin resistance and length of time patients survived without the disease getting worse (progression-free survival, or PFS) and overall survival (length of time the patient remained alive or OS) was evaluated. Researchers concluded “After taking into account other factors likely to affect PFS and OS in these patients, such as age and body mass index (BMI). we found that higher insulin levels were an independent factor leading to a worse prognosis in patients with advanced breast cancer.”

Researchers suggested adopting simple lifestyle changes such as a better diet and more exercise, and the use of cheap and widely available  drugs such as metformin as ways to tackle the problem. In addition, clinicians need to be more aware of these results. More research is planned.

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