Breast Cancer Coverage from Every Angle

Risk of Breast Cancer in Common Drugs for Diabetes and Obesity

By: Vanessa A. Carter, BS
Posted: Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Based on the results recently presented virtually at the 2021 Endocrine Society Annual Meeting by Giovana Fagundes Piccoli, MD, of the Hospital de Clinic de Porto Alegre, Brazil, and colleagues, commonly used medications for type 2 diabetes and obesity do not appear to be associated with an increased risk of breast cancer. These agents are glucagon-like peptide-1 GLP-1) receptor agonists. Previous clinical trials had suggested that one such agent, liraglutide, may be linked to breast cancer events.

“GLP-1 receptor agonists can be used as [an] adjunct to diet and exercise in subjects with type 2 diabetes and those without type 2 diabetes and excess weight, without an increased risk of breast cancer or noncancerous masses in the breast,” Dr. Fagundes Picolli stated in an Endocrine Society press release.

Based on an online search of the literature, the researchers identified 48,267 patients treated with GLP-1 receptor agonists and 40,755 control subjects from 52 trials. Breast cancer events and benign breast neoplasms were reported in 50 and 11 studies, respectively.

Of participants treated with GLP-1 receptor agonists, 130 developed breast cancer. This was not significantly different from the control group, where 107 subjects also developed breast cancer (relative risk [RR] = 0.98; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.76–1.26); the risk of benign breast neoplasm was also not significant (RR = 0.99; 95% CI = 0.48–2.01). The type of GLP-1 receptor agonists did not appear to affect this risk, and there was no association between any placebo, weight-loss, or diabetes drugs and increased rates of breast neoplasms or cancer.

Disclosure: No disclosure information was provided.

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