A new study has reported that breast cancer patients with high fasting blood sugar levels at diagnosis are almost twice as likely to experience a recurrence as patients with normal levels. The study was designed to investigate the association between fasting glucose before treatment and disease progression among breast and colorectal cancer patients. Study participants included 202 breast and 218 colorectal patients treated between 1998 and 2009. Participants were divided into three groups (lowest, middle and highest tertiles) based on their pre-treatment fasting glucose levels. The authors conducted analyses to determine the relevance of type of cancer, gender, age and body mass index (BMI).
As of five years after diagnosis, 66% of the study participants (including both cancer types) in the highest tertile of fasting glucose had relapsed compared to 35% of those in the lowest tertile. Fifty-one percent of females in the highest tertile experienced a recurrence compared to 24% of those in the lowest tertile. Based on multivariate analysis, fasting glucose was a significant predictor of time to disease progression in the breast cancer patients (relapse came faster for those in the highest tertile) but not in the colorectal cancer patients. The authors conclude that the results provide evidence that high blood sugar may be related to the development of treatment resistance in breast cancer patients. Prospective studies are warranted to confirm the findings.