Ozempic reduces risk of 13 types of cancer

Ozempic Insulin injection pen

Patients taking semaglutide (the active ingredient in Wegovy and Ozempic) were 19% less likely to develop 13 obesity-related cancers, according to new data presented at ASCO 2024.

The research, led by the Case Western Reserve University in Ohio and reported in The Guardian, also found patients were half as likely to die over 15 years compared with patients not taking a GLP-1 receptor agonist (RA).

Two other studies presented at the event suggested semaglutide, which is approved for diabetes and weight loss, could reduce the risk of breast cancer recurrence.

“The link between obesity and multiple cancers is proven,” said Professor Charles Swanton, Cancer Research UK’s chief clinician, commenting on the findings. “While these are effective drugs to manage weight loss, it’s still early days in our understanding of whether they can reduce people’s risk of cancer.”

In February this year, another study by researchers at in Ohio suggested semaglutide could reduce the risk of colorectal cancer (CRC).

In this cohort study, GLP-1RAs were associated with reduced CRC risk in drug-naive patients with type 2 diabetes with and without obesity. The authors say the results “suggest a potential protective effect against CRC partially mediated by weight loss and other mechanisms not related to weight loss”.

Other benefits of Ozempic

Semaglutide has also been associated with significant cardiovascular benefits, according to two studies presented at the European Congress on Obesity (ECO) based on the Semaglutide and Cardiovascular Outcomes (SELECT) trial.

SELECT was the largest and longest clinical trial of the effects of semaglutide on weight in over 17,000 adults. The new studies found that patients lost on average 10% of their body weight, but the cardiovascular benefits were not dependent on the amount of weight lost.

The drug is also being investigated as a treatment for alcohol use disorder, Alzheimer’s disease and polycystic ovary syndrome.

Diana Spencer, Senior Digital Content Editor, DDW

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