Researcher aims to find out why many colon cancer patients go on to develop type 2 diabetes
When the left side of the colon is removed as part of treatment for cancer, the risk of the patient developing type 2 diabetes is increased.
This is shown in a recent study, and medical doctor and PhD Louise Lang Lehrskov is now about to investigate what happens in these patients and to identify the disease processes that can lead to type 2 diabetes after the operation. She hypothesizes that, if we can get an insight into the process, we may also acquire knowledge that will help prevent and treat type 2 diabetes in future. Louise Lang Lehrskov has just received a grant of DKK 1.2 million from the Danish Diabetes Academy for her postdoc study, and she will begin the project at Hillerød Hospital and Hvidovre Hospital in spring 2020.
Louise Lang Lehrskov points out that the success represented by an ever-growing number of long-term survivors of colon cancer demands a greater emphasis on preventing late complications such as diabetes – both to improve quality of life and to ease the increasing pressure on the economy from those complications.
In her postdoc study, Louise Lang Lehrskov and the research groups involved in the project will investigate changes in glucose tolerance, intestinal hormones, intestinal microorganisms, visceral fat, chronic inflammation and appetite in patients with colon cancer who have had the left side of their colon removed.
The method she will use is an explorative prospective clinical study involving 60 patients with non-metastasized colon cancer treatable by surgery, possibly followed by chemotherapy. Each group – those who will have the left side of the colon removed, and those who will have the right side removed – will consist of 30 patients.
Within each group, half the patients will receive post-operative chemotherapy. On each of the three trial days (before the operation, 2-4 weeks after the operation and 12 months after the operation), blood and faeces samples will be taken and a glucose tolerance test, DXA scan and ad libitum meal test will be carried out.
Louise Lang Lehrskov MD, PhD
Hillerød Hospital and Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen