High Blood Sugar Increases Women's Colorectal Cancer Risk

Three hazelnutsIn a nutshell:

A brief look this week at

  • Blood sugar and colorectal cancer risk
  • Outcomes for people with defective mismatch repair on oxaliplatin
  • Medicare’s preventive services

High blood sugar readings increase colon cancer risk

Scientists at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, analyzed blood samples from 4,902 postmenopausal women in the NIH Women’s Health Initiative study. Both blood glucose and blood insulin levels were measured when women entered the study.

After 12 years, 81 women had been diagnosed with colorectal cancer. Women who had the highest levels of glucose in their blood at the beginning of the study were twice as likely to have colon or rectal cancer than those with the lowest readings.  Surprisely, initial circulating insulin levels made no difference.

In a news release from Albert Einstein College of Medicine, study author Geoffrey Kabat, Ph.D., a senior epidemiologist at Einstein, said,

The next challenge is to find the mechanism by which chronically elevated blood glucose levels may lead to colorectal cancer. It’s possible that elevated glucose levels are linked to increased blood levels of growth factors and inflammatory factors that spur the growth of intestinal polyps, some of which later develop into cancer.

SOURCE:  Kabat et al., British Journal of Cancer, advance online publication, November 29 2011.

Disease-free survival significantly higher for patients with defective mismatch repair (dMMR) on FOLFOX

Scientists reviewed clinical and tissue information from 303 stage III colon cancer patients who were treated with FOLFOX after surgery in 9 French hospitals over a 5 year period.

About 1 in 10 (11.2%) had tumors with defective mismatch repair (dMMR) discovered either by analyzing markers for microsatellite instability or immunohistochemistry for missing proteins involved in dMMR.

Three years after surgery 90.5% of dMMR patients were alive and cancer-free compared to 73.8% of patients with proficient mismatch repair.

Aziz Zaanan and his colleagues concluded,

Mismatch repair status is an independent prognostic biomarker for disease-free survival in patients with stage III colon cancer receiving adjuvant FOLFOX chemotherapy.

SOURCE: Zaanan et al, Clinical Cancer Research, Volume 17, Number 23, December 1, 2011.

Are you are Medicare?  Preventive services are now free.

Medicare now covers a whole list of preventive services, including colorectal cancer screening and an annual Wellness Visit to your doctor without deductibles or co-payments.

Here’s a helpful booklet from Medicare that explains your benefits: Your Guide to Medicare’s Preventive Services.



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