R&D News: Lung cancer patients with diabetes tend to live longer
Researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology and Trondheim University have analyzed 1,677 lung cancer cases from the Nord-Trondelag Health study (HUNT), the pemetrexed gemcitabine (PEG) study and the Norwegian Lung Cancer Biobank study.
They found that the 1-, 2-, and 3-year survival in patients with lung cancer with and without diabetes mellitus were 43 percent versus 28 percent, 19 percent versus 11 percent, and 3 percent versus 1 percent, respectively.
The fact that patients with diabetes mellitus showed a lower frequency of metastatic diseases may partly explain the survival benefit in patients with diabetes mellitus, because the majority of the patients with lung cancer die of metastasis and not of the primary tumor, researchers wrote.
"Standard therapy should not be withheld from patients with diabetes mellitus provided they are otherwise fit, even if it may be considered a significant comorbidity," researchers wrote in the study. "The survival benefit may be of clinical importance and should be focused on in future studies."
"However, as we adjusted for stage of disease in our analyses this potential advantage can hardly explain the observed increased survival in patients with diabetes mellitus. In addition, increased survival in patients with diabetes mellitus was clearly demonstrated in the PEG study where all patients had advanced lung cancer."
Researchers did not speculate on the reason for the effect, but said that the survival benefit warranted more study and that diabetes should not be considered a reason to withhold standard cancer treatment.
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