-- Robert Preidt
WEDNESDAY, Nov. 30 (HealthDay News) -- There may be a link
between high blood sugar levels and an increased risk of colorectal
cancer in older women, a new study finds.
Researchers analyzed 12 years of data collected from 5,000
postmenopausal women in the U.S. Women's Health Initiative study.
The women's fasting blood sugar (glucose) and insulin levels were
measured at the start of the study and then several more times over
the next dozen years.
During the study period, 81 of the women were diagnosed with
The researchers found that women with elevated glucose levels at
the start of the study were more likely to develop colorectal
cancer, and that those in the highest third of glucose levels were
nearly twice as likely to develop colorectal cancer than those in
the lowest third.
There was no association between insulin levels and colorectal
cancer risk, according to the team led by researchers at Albert
Einstein College of Medicine in New York City.
The study appears online Nov. 29 in the
British Journal of Cancer.
Obesity -- which is usually accompanied by elevated blood levels
of glucose and insulin -- is a known risk factor for colorectal
cancer. It's long been believed that the increased risk of
colorectal cancer associated with obesity is due to high insulin
levels, but this study suggests it may be due to high glucose
"The next challenge is to find the mechanism by which chronically elevated blood glucose levels may lead to colorectal cancer," lead author Geoffrey Kabat, a senior epidemiologist at Einstein, said in a medical college news release. "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."
Colorectal cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer
and the third leading cause of cancer death in the United States,
according to the American Cancer Society.
The American Cancer Society has more about
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