Adults with larger amounts of the epidermal growth factor receptor HER2/ErbB2 are at a higher risk for diabetes compared with those with lower measures, according to findings published in Diabetes Care.
“The close relationship observed between diabetes and cancer may support the concept that perturbed metabolism may contribute to the development of oncogenesis,” Iram Faqir Muhammad, MD, a doctoral student in cardiovascular research – epidemiology at Lund University in Sweden, and colleagues wrote. “ErbB2 has been widely explored as an oncogenic marker, and it has also been associated with insulin resistance. Thus, ErbB2 might have a role beyond oncogenesis.”
Muhammad and colleagues conducted a population-based cohort study with 4,220 participants from the Malmö Diet and Cancer-Cardiovascular cohort, who were recruited between 1991 and 1994 and took part in a follow-up assessment more than 10 years later. Circulating levels of ErbB2 were measured in 2015 from blood samples collected at baseline. Using this data, Muhammad and colleagues divided the participants into four quartiles based on ErbB2 levels. Those in quartile 1 (n = 1,055; mean age, 56.2 years, 74.9% women) had the lowest levels followed by quartile 2 (n = 1,055; mean age, 57.48 years; 64.1% women), quartile 3 (n = 1,055; mean age, 57.6 years; 58.2% women) and quartile 4 (n = 1,055; mean age, 57.79 years; 48.9% women). Participants were followed through 2016 with information from six Swedish registries used to identify cases of diabetes.
The researchers reported 615 cases of diabetes during the study and said there was a correlation between ErbB2 and fasting glucose, HbA1c, homeostatic model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA2-IR) and insulin at baseline. At follow-up, the biomarker was longitudinally associated with fasting glucose and 2-hour glucose. Compared with those in the lowest quartile, those in quartile 4 were at higher risk for diabetes in the fully adjusted model (HR = 1.31; 95% CI, 1.03-1.66), which included considerations for fasting glucose. The risk for diabetes was also highest for those in quartile 4 compared with those in quartile 1 when only including instances of type 2 diabetes (HR = 1.33; 95% CI, 1.04-1.7). According to the researchers, increasing ErbB2 levels by 1 standard deviation increased the odds for diabetes in both men (HR = 1.27; 95% CI, 1.1-1.46) and women (HR = 1.26; 95% CI, 1.11-1.42).
“In addition to breast cancer, circulating ErbB2 levels are positively associated with an increased risk of diabetes,” the researchers wrote. “Our results are interesting and worth exploring regarding the potential role of ErbB2 in the development of diabetes and in novel therapeutic approaches.” – by Phil Neuffer
Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.