This morning I was surprised to read that some health care professionals are worried that Lantus may be linked with Cancer. In an article published by Bloomberg, a UBS analyst said that while they could not confirm any risk they “hear a number of long-established safety concerns, in particular that Lantus use may promote cancer.”
The concerns abou the link between Lantus and Cancer are not new. In 2006, Diabetes Health magazine reported in an article that Ernst Chantelau from the department of endocrinology, diabetes and rheumatology at Diabetesambulanz MNR-Klinik in Dusseldorf, Germany and Jenny Hirst for the Insulin Dependent Diabetes Trust published a paper where they speculates that cancer may be a long-term side effect of taking Lantus.
Aventis 17 page application to the European Medical Agency (EMA) in 2000, noted 7 areas of concern to diabetics and physicians considering the use of Lantus (insulin glargine or HOE901) in the management of diabetes mellitus. In particular, the report said that there were ocurrences of cancer on some animal trials. The EMEA, however, decided the information was “irrelevant.” Lantus was then approved.
Concerns over Lantus have been revived by Ralph DeFronzo, a diabetes researcher at the University of Texas Health Science Center, on a June 11 conference call sponsored by Credit Suisse. DeFronzo said he expected an “earthquake” event that might prompt doctors to not “feel so comfortable with glargine” insulin, according to the call’s transcript. Glargine is a chemical name for Lantus. Pressed for details, DeFronzo said, “Can’t tell you anything. So keep your ears open. It won’t take too long.”
The European Asociation for the Study of Diabetes has published a webcast as well as four preliminary papers about the issue and some patient information from the EASD and from Hemkens et al. An official statement from Sanofi-Aventis can be found here.
Amy Tenderich also has some coverage over at Diabetes Mine