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UBC Scientists Discover a Causal Link Between Insulin Production and Pancreatic Cancer


In a study recently published in the scientific journal Cell Metabolism, scientists from the University of British Columbia announced a link between higher insulin levels and a higher risk of developing pancreatic cancer.

Researchers reduced insulin levels in mice that were predisposed to developing pancreatic cancer and found that these these mice had a significantly less chance of developing the disease.

Hyperinsulinemia, a condition in which the body produces too much insulin to control blood sugar levels, is increasingly common, found in almost forty percent of obese adults.

This discovery has the potential for early detection and prevention of not just pancreatic cancer in humans, as Hyperinsulinemia is believed to be a precursor to multiple cancers.


Janel Kopp, senior co-author and associate professor in the department of cellular and physiological sciences:

“The link between hyperinsulinemia has actually been found across multiple cancers, including breast cancer, but pancreatic cancer has the strongest link,”

James Johnson, senior co-author of the study, a professor and member of the Diabetes Research Group in the Life Sciences Centre at UBC:

“Pancreatic cancer can be tricky to detect and is too often diagnosed at a late stage, making it one of the deadliest cancers,”

“The five-year-survival rate is less than five percent, and incidences of the disease are increasing alongside obesity.”

“No matter whether you look at the entire pancreas, lesions or tumours, less insulin meant reduced beginnings of cancer in the pancreas,”


For the full study and link to the journal, click here.