Type 2 diabetes linked to esophageal cancer risk in Barrett’s esophagus patients

Type 2 diabetes linked to esophageal cancerType 2 diabetes is linked to esophageal cancer risk in Barrett’s esophagus patients. In Barrett’s esophagus, the esophageal lining becomes similar to the stomach lining, and type 2 diabetes has long been linked to the condition. Lad researcher Prashanthi N. Thota said, “There has been a rising incidence of metabolic syndrome over the past decades, which seems to correlate with an increase in esophageal cancer.”

Barrett’s esophagus develops when a person’s esophagus is unable to close tightly, which allows gastric acid to come up to the esophagus. When this occurs, the lining gets damaged and over time becomes similar to that of the stomach. Such changes in the esophagus can lead to dysplasia and even cancer.


The researchers looked at data from 1,632 patients with Barrett’s esophagus, of which 247 had type 2 diabetes. Researchers found that esophagus cancer was present in 15.8 percent of patients without type 2 diabetes and in 25.9 percent of diabetics. They also found high-grade dysplasia or cancer in 17.9 percent of diabetes patients, compared to 9.7 percent without diabetes.

Furthermore, the researchers found that 61.9 percent of patients with hypertension didn’t develop dysplasia. Thota added, “I suspect that this relates to the use of antihypertensive drugs rather than the condition per se.”

Previous research found that men with type 2 diabetes were at an increased risk for esophageal cancer, so recent findings confirm this link.

Type 2 diabetes may raise Barrett’s esophagus risk: Previous study

Previous research found that type 2 diabetes patients are at a greater risk for Barrett’s esophagus. Coinvestigator Prasad G. Iyer said that the study suggests “if you have diabetes, your risk for Barrett’s esophagus (BE) may be almost doubled.” The link may also be higher in men because men tend to carry greater weight and fat around the abdomen, whereas in it’s around the hips and thighs.

The researchers performed a population-based control study of 14, 245 Barrett’s esophagus cases and 70,361 controls without the condition. Those with Barrett’s esophagus were more likely to be smokers, consume alcohol, and have type 2 diabetes rates higher than the controls. The mean body mass index (BMI) was higher in Barrett’s esophagus patients, too, compared to the controls.

Obesity is a risk factor for Barrett’s esophagus and esophageal cancer, but the link is unclear.

Dr. Iyer explained, “Interestingly, we found that among the study cohort, if you had diabetes there was a twofold increase in your risk for Barrett’s esophagus. When we stratified the results by gender, the association of type 2 diabetes with Barrett’s esophagus was stronger in males compared to females, which may reflect the different fat distributions in men and women.”

Further research is required to better understand how type 2 diabetes leads to Barrett’s esophagus, but for now researchers strongly urge to maintain a healthy weight and lose weight if you are overweight as a means of lowering your risk of type 2 diabetes and Barrett’s esophagus.

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Author Bio

Mohan Garikiparithi got his degree in medicine from Osmania University (University of Health Sciences). He practiced clinical medicine for over a decade before he shifted his focus to the field of health communications. During his active practice he served as the head of the Dept. of Microbiology in a diagnostic centre in India. On a three-year communications program in Germany, Mohan developed a keen interest in German Medicine (Homoeopathy), and other alternative systems of medicine. He now advocates treating different medical conditions without the use of traditional drugs. An ardent squash player, Mohan believes in the importance of fitness and wellness.


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