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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 31-37

Diabetes and cancer: Treacherous associations

1 Amity Institute of Biotechnology, Amity University, Uttar Pradesh, Noida, India
2 Department of Biochemistry, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India
3 All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Bibinagar, Telangana, India

Correspondence Address:
Manisha Naithani
Department of Biochemistry, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Rishikesh, Uttarakhand.
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/JCDM.JCDM_9_21

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Diabetes and cancer are two severe, heterogeneous, and multifactorial chronic diseases. The frequency of these diseases occurring in the same individual is increasing worldwide at an alarming rate. Multiple research studies indicate the presence of shared modifiable and non-modifiable risk factors between the two diseases. Hyperinsulinemia is one such condition which favors cancer development in patients with diabetes as insulin shares some pre-eminent metabolic and mitogenic effects. While the drugs which are used to treat diabetes exhibit a lower risk of cancer development, the drugs taken to treat cancer may either cause diabetes or worsen pre-existing diabetes. Other hypothesized mechanisms comprehending the relationship between diabetes and cancer include insulin resistance, insulin-like growth factor-1, hyperglycemia, and dyslipidemia. Meta-analyses of many studies indicate that diabetes and cancer are the two sides of the same coin. There may also be a risk of escalation of one disease while treating the other. This phenomenon of reverse effect has been reported in cases of liver and pancreatic cancer, which leads to the progression of diabetes. In our review, we highlight some of the most promising mechanisms which attempt to comprehend this relationship between the two diseases. We conclude that diabetes and cancer have a very complex relationship that requires more clinical attention and better-designed studies.

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