Diabetes affects death risk in multiple myeloma, study finds

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A recent study has revealed that patients diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a type of blood cancer affecting plasma cells in the bone marrow, who also have diabetes, experience reduced overall survival compared to those without diabetes.

What makes this study particularly intriguing is that it delves into the racial disparities in survival rates among individuals grappling with both these health conditions.

Multiple myeloma is the second most common blood cancer in the United States, with a higher prevalence among non-Hispanic Black adults, where it stands as the most common blood cancer.

On the other hand, diabetes is a prevalent health issue, affecting approximately 13% of the U.S. population, and its incidence is on the rise.

While it has been recognized in previous research that patients with both multiple myeloma and diabetes tend to have lower survival rates, this study is the first to examine how these outcomes vary based on race.

The research aimed to understand whether racial differences in the prevalence of diabetes could contribute to varying health outcomes for individuals dealing with both conditions.

To conduct the study, researchers conducted a retrospective analysis, gathering data from electronic health records of 5,383 patients diagnosed with multiple myeloma at two academic medical centers:

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Among these patients, 15% had received a diabetes diagnosis, with 12% being white and 25% Black patients.

Across the board, the study found that patients with multiple myeloma and diabetes had lower survival rates compared to those without diabetes. However, when the researchers examined the results by race, they made a surprising discovery.

While white patients with both multiple myeloma and diabetes had worse survival rates than those without diabetes, no such difference was observed among Black patients.

The study also noted that the risk of developing diabetes tends to increase with age. Younger patients with multiple myeloma may handle treatments better than older individuals, which could partially explain the observed racial disparities in survival outcomes.

Investigating the underlying mechanisms, researchers conducted experiments on genetically engineered mouse models and discovered that multiple myeloma tumors grew more rapidly in diabetic mice compared to non-diabetic mice.

They identified an overactive insulin-related signal in diabetic mice, suggesting that higher insulin levels associated with diabetes could accelerate cancer growth.

In light of these findings, the study’s lead researcher, Dr. Urvi Shah from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, proposed the idea of treating both multiple myeloma and diabetes simultaneously to improve patient outcomes potentially.

It’s important to note that this study is retrospective and doesn’t account for the impact of the quality of care on survival outcomes among diabetic patients.

Future research will aim to address these limitations and explore therapeutic interventions that target both multiple myeloma development and the overactive insulin signaling pathway.

Dr. Shah and her colleagues are also investigating how modifiable factors like diet and the microbiome can be altered to enhance cancer outcomes.

The study’s findings underscore the significance of considering comorbidities and modifiable risk factors in cancer treatment, highlighting the potential benefits of therapies and lifestyle changes working hand in hand to improve patient survival outcomes.

If you care about diabetes, please read studies about Widely prescribed drug may increase sudden cardiac arrest risk in people with diabetes and findings of These common drugs linked to sudden cardiac arrest in people with type 2 diabetes.

For more health information, please see recent studies about how drinking milk affects the risks of heart disease and cancer  and results showing berry that can prevent cancer, diabetes, and obesity.

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