Mayo Clinic research finds older diabetic women have increased risk of colon cancer

NEW ORLEANS Researchers at the Mayo Clinic may have found a link between colorectal cancer and diabetes in older women.

The findings, which are being presented at the American Gastroenterological Association's annual meeting, Digestive Disease Week 2010, examined data from 37,695 participants of the Iowa Women’s Health Study, which enrolled women ages 55 to 69 years in 1986 and remains ongoing. Of these women, 2,361 reported a diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes and 1,200 developed colorectal cancer.

To find the links between colorectal cancer and diabetes, the researchers worked with regional pathology laboratories to obtain tumor tissue samples from IWHS participants who were diagnosed with colorectal cancer. They linked the tissue samples with other IWHS data, looking for cancer pathways and risk factors, and whether those risk factors were associated with three different molecular markers: microsatellite instability, CpG island methylation, and BRAF gene mutations.


“Knowing that diabetic women have these findings should help to facilitate more appropriate colorectal cancer prevention and treatment options,” said Anthony Razzak, M.D., a Mayo Clinic research fellow and presenter at the conference. “Our findings may lead to new strategies for colon cancer screening, chemotherapy and chemoprevention in women with diabetes.”


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