A link between the diabetes treatment Lantus and cancer as suggested by studies “cannot be confirmed nor excluded,” and need further research, according to medical experts Tuesday.
A diabetic patient injects himself with insulin at the J.W.C.H. safety-net clinic in the center of Skid Row in downtown Los Angeles July 30, 2007.(Xinhua/Reuters File Photo)
The studies were published Friday in Diabetologia, the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes.
In the studies, researchers in four European countries reviewed data of patients taking Lantus and other insulins.
In one of them involving 127,000 Germans, the risk of being diagnosed with cancer was 9 percent higher in patients taking a low dose of Lantus than in people taking older insulin. Patients taking a higher dose of Lantus had a 31 percent higher risk of being diagnosed with cancer.
In another study in Sweden patients taking Lantus were found to have double the risk of breast cancer compared with patients taking other insulins.
However, patients taking Lantus in the studies were generally older, more overweight and had higher blood pressure, making it possible that “any difference in cancer risk could be attributed to the pre-treatment characteristics of the groups,” the Eueopean association said.
The studies, while having some “limitations,” showed a “possible link” between Lantus and cancer, and called for further research, the association added.
On Monday, Sanofi Chief Executive Christopher Viehbacher called the studies inconclusive and flawed, adding that clinical trials in Sanofi’s database involving 70,000 people have shown no link between Lantus and cancer.