Important: Two people who
took Actos and were later diagnosed with bladder cancer have been awarded $6.5
million and $1.7 million by juries. Over 5,000 Actos related cases have already
been filed by people diagnosed with bladder cancer. Click here to learn more.
Metabolic syndrome – a set of conditions associated with
higher diabetes risk – is being linked to more severe forms of bladder cancer. A
new study conducted at a research hospital in Istanbul, Turkey analyzed the
stage and grade of tumors in bladder surgery patients with and without
Closely related to the development of diabetes, metabolic
syndrome is characterized by five metabolic risk factors. These include a large
waistline, high triglyceride level, low HDL cholesterol, high blood pressure
and high fasting blood sugar. People with at least 3 of these risk factors are
said to have metabolic syndrome and are at higher risk for eventually
In the new Turkish study, 535 bladder cancer patients
underwent transurethral resection of a bladder tumor between October 2005 and
March 2011. All patients in the study had primary urothelial cell carcinoma
(also called transitional cell carcinoma), the most common type of bladder cancer
in diabetics. Eighty-six percent of the study subjects were men and almost 14
percent were women.
The researchers found that having metabolic syndrome or
diabetes increased the likelihood that a patient’s bladder cancer would have
spread farther (higher stage) and be of a faster-growing variety (higher
grade). Summarizing these results in the Asian
Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention, lead author Dr. Emin Ozbek concludes,
“The patients with metabolic syndrome were found to have statistically
significant higher T stage and grade of bladder cancer.” He and his team
recommend further studies to confirm the results.
Researchers used the TNM system to stage the bladder cancer
cases. Bladder cancer was classified as higher stage if the cancer was higher
than T1. The 2004 World Health Organization grading system, which classifies
cancer cells based on how different they are from normal cells, was used to
assign to a grade to tumors.
While little is known about the connection between metabolic
syndrome and bladder cancer, a number of studies indicate an increased risk of
bladder cancer among people with diabetes. The risk is even higher in diabetes patients
who have taken a blood sugar regulator called Actos. Several recent studies have
suggested that the longer a person is on Actos, the higher his or her bladder
Ozbek, E et al, “Association between the Metabolic Syndrome
and High Tumor Grade and Stage of Primary Urothelial Cell Carcinoma of the
Bladder”, 2014, Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention, pp. 1447-1451.