High insulin levels cause pancreatic cancer, study shows

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Pancreatic cancer can develop from two kinds of cells in the pancreas: exocrine cells and neuroendocrine cells, such as islet cells.

The exocrine type is more common and is usually found at an advanced stage. Pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (islet cell tumors) are less common but have a better prognosis.

In a recent study from the University of British Columbia, scientists found for the first time a causal link between high insulin levels and pancreatic cancer.

They found that lowering insulin levels could protect against developing the disease. The findings may help achieve early detection and prevention of pancreatic cancer in humans.

Pancreatic cancer is not easy to detect and is too often diagnosed at a late stage, making it one of the deadliest cancers.

The five-year-survival rate is less than 5%, and the incidences of the disease are increasing alongside obesity.

Hyperinsulinemia is a condition in which the body produces more insulin than it needs to control blood sugar levels.

Previous research has found that more than one-third of obese adults have this health condition. It can be changed by diet and lifestyle factors.

The link between hyperinsulinemia has been found across multiple cancers, including breast cancer, but pancreatic cancer has the strongest link.

In the study, the team directly tested the causal link between hyperinsulinemia and pancreatic cancer.

They crossed a strain of mice that is genetically incapable of developing a rise in insulin with a strain of mice predisposed to developing pancreatic cancer.

These mice and the control mice were fed a diet for a year that was known to increase insulin levels and promote pancreatic cancer.

At the end of the study, the mice with slightly reduced insulin levels were shown to be protected from the start of pancreatic cancer.

This finding shows that less insulin may help reduce the beginnings of cancer in the pancreas.

The team now is trying to test whether decreasing excess insulin produced by the body could positively influence later stages of pancreatic cancer.

If you care about cancer, please read studies about how to reduce pancreatic cancer spread by nearly 90%, and green tea could help reduce death risk in type 2 diabetes

For more information about cancer, please see recent studies about new way to increase the longevity of cancer survivors, and results showing vitamin D supplements strongly reduces cancer death.

The study was published in Cell Metabolism and conducted by James Johnson et al.

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