How might cancer and diabetes be linked? Elizabeth Tracey reports


A blood marker called prostasin seems to link both one’s risk to develop diabetes and the risk of dying from cancer. How might these be linked? William Nelson, director of the Kimmel Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, offers his interpretation.

Nelson: One way to think about it is that insulin and the insulin-like growth factors are growth factors for established cancers, we know that. And so if you have generated a cancer and you have high insulin and higher insulin-like growth factors, presumably that cancer is under greater stimulation to grow more. This prediabetes, early diabetes state, which is the common one that people have with obesity, is the one that seems to be associated with higher levels of growth factors for cancer.  :30

Nelson says the good news about discerning a relationship between diabetes and cancer is that many risk factors for both can be modified, and therefore hopefully reduce the risk. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.