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Study identifies a blood protein that may signal diabetes, cancer death risk

Study identifies a blood protein that may signal diabetes, cancer death risk

London: A blood protein has been identified by researchers that may increase the risk of diabetes and cancer death.

Prostasin stimulates the epithelial sodium channels that control blood volume, blood pressure, and sodium balance.

The protein, which is linked to glucose metabolism, has been proven to inhibit the growth of tumours that are brought on by excessive blood sugar.

The findings, published in Diabetologia, people with prostasin were 76 per cent more likely to develop diabetes.

Prostasin levels were also found to be a better predictor of diabetes in younger participants, and those with lower blood glucose levels and better kidney function.

Further, researchers found that prostasin was significantly associated with both cancer mortality and all-cause mortality.

People with prostasin blood levels were 43 per cent more likely to die from cancer.

For each doubling of prostasin concentration, the risk of cancer mortality increased by 139 per cent and 24 per cent, respectively, among participants with and without elevated levels of blood glucose (impaired fasting glucose).

No association was found for cardiovascular mortality.

"Prostasin may be just an indicator that disease might occur, or could be causally relevant, which is exciting because it raises the possibility of targeting this protein with future treatments for both diabetes and cancer," said Professor Gunnar Engstrom from Lund University in Malmo, Sweden.

"Prostasin is a new potential risk marker for the development of diabetes and cancer mortality, especially in individuals with high blood glucose levels," added Dr Xue Bao from The Affiliated Hospital of Nanjing University Medical School in Nanjing, China.

"It is easily accessible, which enhances its potential to serve as a warning marker in the future."

The study analysed blood samples from over 4,000 middle-aged Swedish adults that were taken over a decade ago.

After adjusting for potential confounding factors including age, sex and waist circumference, smoking and drinking habits, LDL-cholesterol, systolic blood pressure, and anti-hypertensive medication, elevated prostasin levels were found to be positively associated with the presence of diabetes, with those in the highest prostasin quartile almost twice as likely to have diabetes compared to the lowest.

702 patients developed diabetes throughout an average follow-up of 22 years.

651 participants lost their lives to cancer during an average follow-up of 24 years.

According to researchers, the results are observational and may require further research.

With inputs from IANS

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TAGS:ResearchCancerDiabetesBlood protein
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