New Study Highlights a Protein With the Potential to Predict Cancer Deaths and Type 2 Diabetes Risk

Inside Precision Medicine recently featured an article describing a study that was published in the European journal Diabetologia conducted by a team of Chinese and Swedish researchers. The study suggested that individuals with high levels of the prostasin protein are at greater risk to develop Type 2 diabetes (Type 2). The results did not change after adjusting for factors that affect diabetes and cancer such as age, sex, waist diameter, smoking, LDL cholesterol, and medication for hypertension.

Additionally, people who have elevated levels of blood sugar, as well as high levels of the prostasin protein, are at significant risk of death from cancer.

According to lead author Dr. Gunnar Engström of Sweden’s Lund University, prostasin has the potential to predict disease and therefore it would be useful to target prostasin with treatments in the future for cancer and diabetes. Dr. Engstrom stated that this study gives a comprehensive analysis and elucidates the biological relationship between cancer and diabetes.

Type 2 Diabetes

Past research has shown that people with Type 2 have an increased risk of having certain cancers. Medications developed to treat excessively high blood sugar have proven to be effective.

Additional Risks Associated with Type 2 are liver, endometrial, and pancreatic cancers. The risk rises to thirty percent for cancer of the bowel and twenty percent for breast cancer.

About the Study

Forty-six hundred people including 361 with existing diabetes were approved for the Malmö Diet Cancer Study and Cardiovascular Cohort. The study took place from 1991 to 1994.

Forty percent of the participants were men with an average age of fifty-eight. The study focused on the relationship between diabetes and prostasin blood levels.

As aforementioned, adjustments were made for factors that may increase the risk of diabetes such as Prostasin levels. High prostasin scores doubled the risk of diabetes compared to those at the lowest level.

About the Follow-up

The twenty-two-year follow-up found that 702 people had progressed to diabetes. A data analysis strongly indicated the relationship between diabetes and prostasin.

The researchers found it interesting that analyzing prostasin levels was more effective in predicting diabetes in younger people and people who had reasonably good kidney function with a lower level of glucose. The team surmised that high prostasin levels were a reaction to high blood sugar although it could not stem the body’s inability to control glucose levels.

Further analyses examined prostasin’s effect on any cause of death. The researchers found a pronounced association between cancer deaths and overall mortality but there was no correlation to cardiovascular death.

Twenty-four Year Follow up

There were six hundred fifty-one cancer deaths during the twenty-four-year follow-up. Just as the researchers had surmised, people with the highest prostasin blood level score had a 43% increased risk of death from cancer as opposed to those at the lower level. There was a 139% risk of dying from cancer associated with the higher score that did not involve heightened blood glucose levels.

First author Dr. Xue Bao commented that prostasin has become a new risk marker to detect diabetes and deaths from cancer. He added that it has the potential to be used as a future warning marker.

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Rose Duesterwald                            August 6, 2022

Rose Duesterwald

Rose Duesterwald

Rose became acquainted with Patient Worthy after her husband was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) six years ago. During this period of partial remission, Rose researched investigational drugs to be prepared in the event of a relapse. Her husband died February 12, 2021 with a rare and unexplained occurrence of liver cancer possibly unrelated to AML.

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