Table of Contents
ISRN Endocrinology
Volume 2013, Article ID 181240, 8 pages
Review Article

Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus, Oral Diabetic Medications, Insulin Therapy, and Overall Breast Cancer Risk

Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Department of Internal Medicine, American University of Beirut Medical Center, Beirut, Lebanon

Received 17 December 2012; Accepted 1 January 2013

Academic Editors: D. F. Skafar and J.-F. Tanti

Copyright © 2013 Hala Ahmadieh and Sami T. Azar. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Breast cancer is among the most common cancers worldwide. Diabetes is an important chronic health problem associated with insulin resistance, increased insulin level, changes in growth hormones and factors, and activation of mitogen-activating protein kinase (MAPK) pathways, leading to an increased breast cancer risk. This paper looked at the epidemiologic studies of the association between type 2 diabetes and risk of breast cancer and its effect on overall cancer-specific survival. The combined evidence overall supported a modest association between type 2 diabetes and the risk of breast cancer, which was found to be more prevalent among postmenopausal women. Effect of oral diabetics and insulin therapy on breast cancer risk was also evaluated. It was found that metformin and thiazolidinones tended to have a protective role. Metformin therapy trials for its use as an adjuvant for breast cancer treatment are still ongoing. Sulfonylurea and insulin therapy were found to be mildly associated with increased overall cancers. No evidence or studies evaluated the association of DPPIV inhibitors and GLP 1 agonists with breast cancer risk because of their recent introduction into the management of diabetes.