EPIC study: Pre-existing cardiometabolic diseases impact cancer stage

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Published: 17 Nov 2022
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Dr Anna Jansana - International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), Lyon, France,

Dr Anna Jansana speaks to ecancer about the impact of pre-existing cardiometabolic diseases on cancer stage at diagnosis in the EPIC study. 

The results from this study underline the importance of paying particular attention to patients with pre-existing diseases of the heart, blood vessels or metabolism, such as type 2 diabetes so that signs of cancer can be identified at an earlier stage when it is more likely to be treated successfully.

Dr Jansana concludes by talking about how these results can impact the future treatment of breast cancer.

Read the full story here.

My study, the study that I’m presenting at EBCC this year, is about how metabolic diseases prior to cancer can affect the cancer stage at diagnosis and understanding how participants or individuals with type 2 diabetes or cardiovascular diseases behave regarding participation in cancer screening programmes.

What was the methodology used?

For this study we used the EPIC cohort which is a large multicentre prospective cohort that involves the general population of participants aged between 35 and 70 years old. We identified incidents of localised and metastatic cancer as well as those individuals with cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes or both diseases prior to cancer.

Then we conducted an adjusted multivariable logistic regression model to estimate the odds ratio of developing or of being diagnosed with a metastatic cancer compared to a localised cancer according to the presence of pre-existing cardiometabolic diseases. 

What were the key findings?

The results of our study suggested that individuals with type 2 diabetes were more likely to be diagnosed with a metastatic cancer not included in population-based screening programmes which means that they were more likely to be diagnosed with a cancer which is neither breast cancer nor colorectal cancer. On the other hand, we found no associations for screenable cancers which means that individuals with type 2 diabetes were less likely to be diagnosed with a metastatic cancer such as breast or colorectal cancer.

How can these results impact the future screening and treatment of breast cancer?

The results of our study have some implications for public health. For example, they reinforce the need to include participants or individuals with type 2 diabetes in population-based screening programmes as well as to pay special attention to individuals with cardiometabolic diseases because it means that these individuals might have more risk or a higher risk of developing metastatic cancer. 

In addition, our results show that it’s important to improve the coordination between primary care and diagnosis for participants or centres.