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Insulin and cancer link explored


A synthetic insulin is being studied after recent research suggested a link between the diabetes drug and an increased risk of cancer.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is reviewing data on the safety of Lantus – a synthetic insulin made by Sanofi-Aventis SA – though advised diabetes sufferers not to stop taking their insulin without consulting a doctor because of the risk of serious complications, both immediate and long term.

Patients with Type 1 diabetes and many with advanced Type 2 diabetes must inject insulin at least once a day to control their blood sugar.

The review comes after a study by the European Association for the Study of Diabetes looked at 127,000 patients in four European countries and found that out of every 100 patients taking Lantus for about one-and-a-half years, one additional person developed cancer.

However, the association labelled the results inconclusive and urged further study of Lantus, known generically as insulin glargine.

Despite three of the four studies suggesting a raised risk of various types of cancer, the FDA said patients were not followed long enough to conclusively evaluate the risk.

Copyright Press Association 2009


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