Hyperglycemia Linked To Increased Colorectal Cancer Risk In Older Woman
Researchers from Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University linked hyperglycemia to an increased risk of developing colon cancer, after they conducted a study on nearly five thousand postmenopausal woman. The study was published yesterday in the online edition of British Journal of Cancer.
Cancers of the colon and rectum, called colorectal carcinomas account for 15% of the total number of diagnosed cancers. Their frequency is increasing in Western, high living standard countries being the third leading cause of cancer death in the U.S. In the European Union, the incidence of colon cancer is about 58 / 100 000 inhabitants / year with a mortality rate of about 50%.
For 2007, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that there were 142,672 Americans newly diagnosed with colorectal carcinomas. From the total number of diagnosed patients 69,917 were women. The number of deaths caused by colon cancer that was reported in 2007 ,was 53,219.
The fasting blood sugar and insulin levels of the women included in the study were measured at the start of the study (at baseline) then the tests were repeated several times over the next year. After one year, a number of 81 woman were diagnosed with colorectal cancer. Researchers from Albert Einstein College correlated the elevated baseline blood sugar levels with an increased risk of developing colon cancer. No link was found between insulin levels and an increased risk for colon carcinomas.
A well-known risk factor for colon cancer is obesity, and researchers then turned their attention to findind the exact mechanism. Obesity is often associated with hyperinsulinism. A very curious finding, was that obesity’s influence on colon cancer risk (thought to be caused by hyperinsulinism – elevated levels of insulin in the blood of a person) may be actually due to elevated glucose levels.
The next challenge for researchers is to find and describe the exact mechanism by which high glucose levels raise the risk of colorectal cancer according to leading author of the paper Geoffrey Kabat, PhD.
One theory is that elevated glucose levels are correlated to increased circulatory levels of growth and inflammatory factors that could encourage the development of intestinal polyps, some of which, could later turn malignant.