Ozempic Linked to Lower Risk of 10 Cancers

Diabetes patients who use Ozempic and other GLP-1 receptor agonists are at a lower risk of 10 obesity-associated cancers compared to insulin users.

People with excess body fat are more likely to develop 13 cancers and have worse health outcomes with these tumors. Obesity also contributes to insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, further increasing the risk and worsening the prognosis of obesity-associated cancers (OACs).

Drugs called GLP-1 receptor agonists (GLP-1 RAs) have revolutionized treatment of type 2 diabetes and obesity, and now are even reshaping the economy. A new study published in JAMA Network Open suggests that these drugs can also significantly cut the risk of cancers associated with obesity.

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The study included records from 1,651,452 patients with type 2 diabetes who had no prior diagnosis of OACs and were prescribed GLP-1RAs or other common diabetes drugs insulins and metformins. The participants were followed-up an average of 15 years.

Compared with insulin, GLP-1RAs were associated with a significantly lower risk of 10 of 13 OACs, including in gallbladder cancer, meningioma, pancreatic cancer, hepatocellular carcinoma, ovarian cancer, colorectal cancer, multiple myeloma, esophageal cancer, endometrial cancer, and kidney cancer.

In comparison to metformin, GLP-1RAs were not linked to a lower risk of colorectal cancer, gallbladder cancer, and meningioma. However, these drugs were associated with an elevated risk of kidney cancer compared to metformin.

Reductions in the risk of obesity-associated cancers in type 2 diabetes patients treated with GLP-1RAs are comparable to the effects of intensive lifestyle interventions and metabolic bariatric surgery, the authors say.

Nevertheless, the findings should be interpreted with caution. The study is retrospective — based on data from the past — meaning that overdiagnosis, underdiagnosis, and misdiagnosis may have affected the results.

GLP-1RAs are highly effective but may also have some severe side effects, such as pancreatitis, bowel obstruction, and stomach paralysis. The medications are also associated with rare but severe psychiatric effects, including suicidal attempts.

At the same time, GLP-1 RAs show potential in curbing addictions and reducing the risk of dementia, while some users report improved fertility.

Ozempic and similar drugs may have significant benefits in controlling type 2 diabetes and weight loss. However, their use requires close supervision by a healthcare provider.

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