Common drugs for type 2 diabetes and obesity do not increase the risk of breast cancer

WASHINGTON – Commonly used medications for type 2 diabetes and obesity called glucagon as peptide-1 receptor agonists (GLP-1 RAs), are not associated with an increased risk of breast cancer, despite previous studies suggested a possible link, according to his study presented almost at ENDO 2021, the annual meeting of the Endocrine Society.

“GLP-1RAs can be used to support diet and exercise in subjects with type 2 diabetes and those without type 2 diabetes and overweight, without an increased risk of breast or mass cancer or breastfeeding, “said lead researcher Giovana Fagundes Piccoli, MD, of the Federal Universidade do Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil.

RAs GLP-1 has been shown to be effective in treating obesity and type 2 diabetes and in reducing heart disease. These drugs include albiglutide (Tanzeum); dulaglutide (Trulicity); exenatide (Byetta); extended-release exenatide (Bydureon); liraglutide (Victoza, Saxenda); lixisenatide (Adlyxin); and semaglutide (Ozempic, Rybelsus). In clinical trials of liraglutide, subjects treated with the active drug instead of placebo had a higher number of breast cancers. The new study was designed to find out if patients treated with GLP-1 RA had a higher risk of breast cancer or abnormal breast growth called neoplasms.

Piccoli reviewed 52 randomized controlled trials comparing RAs GLP-1 with RA non-GLP-1 (either other diabetes or weight loss drugs or placebos) in adults overweight, obesity, prediabetes or diabetes. The studies had only a minimum of 24 weeks and reported at least one incidence of breast cancer or malignant breast neoplasm. They brought in a total of 90,360 participants.

The analysis found that treatment with RAs GLP-1 was not associated with high rates of breast cancer or malignant or advanced breast neoplasms, compared with placebo or other diabetes or weight loss drugs. Among 48,267 subjects treated with GLP-1 RAs, 130 developed breast cancer, compared with 107 of 40,755 controls.


Endocrinologists are at the heart of solving the most important health problems of our time, from diabetes and obesity to infertility, bone health, and hormone-related cancers. The Endocrine Society is the oldest and largest group of scientists dedicated to the study of hormones and physicians who care for people with hormone – related illnesses.

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