Weight-lowering Effects of Glucagon-like Peptide-1 Receptor Agonists and Detection of Breast Cancer Among Obese Women with Diabetes

Type Article

Journal Article


C. Santella; H. Yin; B. M. Hicks; O. H. Y. Yu; N. Bouganim; L. Azoulay

Year of publication











BACKGROUND: It has been proposed that the weight loss associated with glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists (GLP-1 RAs) may improve detection of breast cancer in patients undergoing this treatment. We aimed to determine whether the weight-lowering effects of GLP-1 RAs are associated with an increased detection of breast cancer among obese women with type 2 diabetes. METHODS: Using the UK Clinical Practice Research Datalink, we conducted a propensity score-matched cohort study among female obese patients with type 2 diabetes newly treated with antidiabetic drugs between 1 January 2007 and 31 January 2018. New users of GLP-1 RAs (n = 5,510) were matched to new users of second- to third-line noninsulin antidiabetic drugs (n = 5,510). We used time-dependent Cox proportional hazards models to estimate hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) of breast cancer associated with different GLP-1 RA maximal weight loss categories (10%). RESULTS: Breast cancer incidence gradually increased with GLP-1 RA maximal weight loss categories, with the highest HR observed for patients achieving at least 10% weight loss (HR = 1.8, 95% CI = 1.1, 2.8). In secondary analyses, the HR for >10% weight loss was highest in the 2-3 years since treatment initiation (HR = 2.9, 95% CI = 1.2, 6.9). CONCLUSIONS: In this population-based study, the detection of breast cancer gradually increased with GLP-1 RA weight loss categories, particularly among those achieving >10% weight loss. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that substantial weight loss with GLP-1 RAs may improve detection of breast cancer among obese patients with type 2 diabetes.