Emerging research suggests that some diabetes treatments may increase the risk of developing bladder cancer.
School of Public Health researcher Jeff Johnson, along with master-of-science student Isabelle Colmers, set out to verify whether this is the case and to determine the implications for diabetes treatments.
Thiazolidinediones, a class of diabetes medications, are used to help patients with type 2 diabetes lower their blood sugar by improving insulin sensitivity, and were previously thought to possibly reduce the risk of cancer. Through a systematic review and meta-analysis of published and unpublished studies involving 2.6 million patients, Colmers and Johnson confirmed that the use of pioglitazone, a type of thiazolidinedione, was associated with a 22-per-cent increased risk of developing bladder cancer.
In this research, recently published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, Colmers and Johnson also looked at the risk associated with using rosiglitazone, another type of thiazolidinedione. Surprisingly, they found no association between rosiglitazone and bladder cancer.