According to a new study published in the journal Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism, researchers at the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Public Health and the University of North Carolina School of Medicine in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, have found that dipeptidyl-peptidase-4 (DPP-4) inhibitors do not increase the short-term risk of developing pancreatic cancer.
Researchers identified patients that had taken DPP-4 inhibitors, as well as sulfonylureas (SUs) and thiazolidinediones (TZDs), three classes of medications used to treat type 2 diabetes. Then, researchers compared the rates of developing pancreatic cancer and found no increased risk among those that took DPP-4 inhibitors compared with those that took SUs or TZDs.
DPP-4 inhibitors, which include commonly used medications like sitagliptan, saxagliptan, and linagliptan, work by increasing incretin levels, resulting in decreased glucagon release, increased insulin secretion, decreased gastric emptying, and decreased glucose levels. In 2013, a study found that DPP-4 inhibitors caused changes to the pancreases of rats that may lead to pancreatic cancer. Though this new study was short, researchers say that it should reassure older patients that DPP-4 inhibitors are safe to treat their diabetes.
Researchers at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health and the UNC School of Medicine have found that a popular class of diabetes medications called DPP-4 inhibitors does not increase the short-term risk of pancreatic cancer, as was previously reported by other researchers.
“Our research shows that short-term use of DPP-4 inhibitors in older diabetes patients does not increase their risk for pancreatic cancer,” said John Buse, MD, PhD, director of the Diabetes Care Center at UNC and co-author of the paper in the current issue of the journal Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism. “However, we just cannot address the long-term safety, yet. There are just not enough people who have taken the drug for many years.”