High Blood Sugar Linked to Brain Cancer

By Rebecca Lewis on May 06, 2017

In a study published in the journal Scientific Reports, scientists from Ohio State University uncover the surprising relationship between blood sugar and brain tumours and could begin to shed light on how certain cancers develop. 

Their study builds on previous research showing that high blood sugar appears to reduce a person’s risk of a noncancerous brain tumour called meningioma.

"Diabetes and elevated blood sugar increase the risk of cancer at several sites including the colon, breast and bladder. But in this case, these rare malignant brain tumours are more common among people who have normal levels of blood glucose than those with high blood sugar or diabetes," said Judith Schwartzbaum, an associate professor of epidemiology and a researcher in Ohio State’s Comprehensive Cancer Centre.  

"Our research raises questions that, when answered, will lead to a better understanding of the mechanisms involved in glioma development," she said. 

For the study, the researchers evaluated blood sugar and diabetes data and its relationship to subsequent development of brain cancer and found that those with elevated blood sugar and diabetes had a lower risk of developing glioma. 

The researchers found that this relationship was strongest within a year of cancer diagnosis. 

"This may suggest that the tumour itself affects blood glucose levels or that elevated blood sugar or diabetes may paradoxically be associated with a protective factor that reduces brain tumour risk," Schwartzbaum said. The brain consumes about 20 percent of the body’s available glucose.  

Source of this article: 

Associations between prediagnostic blood glucose levels, diabetes, and glioma

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