Obesity regulator associated with pancreatic cancer risk

Human Pancreas Photo courtesy of  the Society for Endocrinology

Human Pancreas
Photo courtesy of the Society for Endocrinology

A recent study was done to find the link between circulating levels adiponectin and risk of developing pancreatic cancer. Adiponectin is a hormone associated with destroying fat derivatives, blocking endogenous glucose creation, and weight loss. A Boston based case-control study found varying levels of this hormone associated with pancreatic cancer incidence in cohorts.

Health Professionals Follow-up Study, Nurses’ Health Study, Physicians’ Health Study, Women’s Health Initiative, and Women’s Health Study were the five cohorts, resulting in 1080 subjects matched as the control against 468 pancreatic cancer case subjects. The subjects were matched by cohort, year of birth, smoking status, fasting status, and month of blood draw.

Analysis of the study revealed lower median levels of adiponectin in patients’ blood, 6.2 µg/mL, as opposed to control subjects, 6.8 µg/mL. These results were very significant with a statistical P-value of 0.009. This depicts lower levels of adiponectin as linked to higher risk of pancreatic cancer consistently across all studied cohorts and independent of other insulin resistance markers (type II diabetes, higher BMI, and normal to increased plasma C-peptide levels).

Compared with the bottom quintile (Q1) participants who had the lowest adiponectin, higher levels of adiponectin were associated with lower risk of cancer. Specifically, participants’ likelyhood of developing cancer vs. not (Odds Ratio) were:

Q2: Odds ratio of 0.61 for cancer, 95% confidence interval from 0.43 to 0.86.
Q3: Odds ratio of 0.58 for cancer, 95% confidence interval from 0.41 to 0.84.
Q4: Odds ratio of 0.59 for cancer, 95% confidence interval from 0.40 to 0.87.
Q5: Odds ratio of 0.66 for cancer, 95% confidence interval from 0.44 to 0.97.

Quintile analysis had a trend P-value of 0.04 indicating significance.

This shows that low prediagnostic levels of plasma adiponectin are indeed associated with higher risk of developing pancreatic cancer.

Although this is not the end all diagnostic result for early pancreatic cancer detection and treatment, it proves useful to have another marker to help in the fight.

Reference:
Ying Bao, Edward L. Giovannucci, Peter Kraft, Meir J. Stampfer, Shuji Ogino, Jing Ma, Julie E. Buring, Howard D. Sesso, I-Min Lee, John Michael Gaziano, Nader Rifai, Michael N. Pollak, Barbara B. Cochrane, Virginia Kaklamani, Jennifer H. Lin, JoAnn E. Manson, Charles S. Fuchs and Brian M. Wolpin. 2012. A Prospective Study of Plasma Adiponectin and Pancreatic Cancer Risk in Five US Cohorts. Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jnci/djs474

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