90% of people would think diabetes and high blood sugar raises the risk of cancer. However, it turns out it's the opposite for the following research.
There was a team by The Ohio State University's Judith Schwartzbaum, who set out to look for a relationship between meningiomas and blood markers, including glucose. After all, high blood sugar is a component of diabetes and a precursor to its development. Furthermore, Type 2 diabetes and obesity are closely linked.
But when they compared blood tests in a group of more than 41,000 Swedes with meningioma diagnoses 15 or fewer years later, they found that high blood sugar, particularly in women, actually meant the person was less likely to face a brain tumor diagnosis. It is totally unexpected. "It should lead to a better understanding of what's causing these tumors and what can be done to prevent them." said Schwartzbaum.
Schwartzbaum team did further research recent years. "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 tumors are more common among people who have normal levels of blood glucose than those with high blood sugar or diabetes," Schwartzbaum said. "Our research raises questions that, when answered, will lead to a better understanding of the mechanisms involved in glioma development," she said.
Glioma is one of the most common types of cancerous tumors originating in the brain. It begins in the cells that surround nerve cells and help them function. The disease is typically diagnosed in middle age. At present, there is no treatment that ensures long-term survival, but several potential options are being studied.
The researchers found that this relationship was strongest within a year of cancer diagnosis. Schwartzbaum explained that this may suggest that the tumor itself affects blood glucose levels or that elevated blood sugar or diabetes may paradoxically be associated with a protective factor that reduces brain tumor risk. The body of research on restrictive diets and their effect on brain cancer development has shown mixed results and more work is needed to determine if there's something about the sugar/tumor relationship that can be modified in a way that's beneficial to brain cancer patients.