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Thyroid cancer in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus may be associated with elevated levels of blood glycated hemoglobin (HbAlc), total cholesterol (TC), and triacylglycerol (TG), according to a study published in Disease Markers.1 Further, HbAlc may increase the risk of thyroid cancer in this patient population due to modulating blood lipid levels, which may function as a marker to determine the risk of cancer. Investigators note that because this study did not conduct in vitro and in vivo experiments, the way in which HbAlc impacts the pathogenesis of thyroid cancer was not described in the study. Future research may uncover new ideas regarding the prevention and treating of thyroid cancer.
“In addition to the development of bioinformatics, there has been a lot of accumulation of basic research data on diabetes, and there are also many predictive models for diabetes or thyroid cancer,” wrote a team of Chinese investigators. “Although these provide certain ideas, these are only predictions and have not been subjected to routine basic experiments or applied to patients. Therefore, clinical evidence-based evidence is also very important.”
To evaluate the relationship between changes in blood glucose and blood lipid levels and how they affect the risk of thyroid cancer in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus, investigators recruited 159 patients with type 2 diabetes treated between June 2018 and February 2021. This sample population included 136 patients with type 2 diabetes, 23 patients with type 2 diabetes and thyroid cancer, and 120 healthy controls.
The TC, TG, HbAlc, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), and low-density lipoprotein (LDL-C) were collected and compared. The correlation between serum HbAlc level and TC, TG, LDL-C, and HDL-D in patients with type 2 diabetes were analyzed using Pearson’s method. A multivariate logistic regression analysis was conducted to determine any influencing factors of thyroid cancer in patients with type 2 diabetes.
The serum HbAlc levels and the incidence of thyroid cancer in patients with type 2 diabetes in patients with type 2 diabetes were significantly higher in the observation group when compared with the control group. LDL-C, TG, and TC levels were significantly higher when compared with those in the control group; the HDL-C level was significantly lower when compared with the control group.
A positive correlation with TG and TC levels was observed in serum HbAlc levels in patients with type 2 diabetes, However, it was negatively correlated with HDL-C levels and not correlated with LDL-C levels. In patients with type 2 diabetes with thyroid cancer, the serum HbAlc, TC, and TG levels were significantly higher compared with patients without thyroid cancer; however, the HDL-C levels were significantly lower. No changes were observed in LDL-C levels.
Multivariate logistic regression analysis indicated that risk factors for thyroid cancer in this patient population included serum HbAlc, TG, and TC; however, HDL-C was shown to be a protective factor.
“Although no specific mechanism was investigated in this study, no specific biological genetic targets were tested,” investigators concluded. “However, this study provides a certain evidence-based basis for future basic experiments and drug design and provides a certain direction for new epigenetic targets for clinical treatment and diagnosis of thyroid cancer.”