Montreal—The risk of bladder cancer is increased with use of the diabetes drug pioglitazone, according to a study published by The BMJ, and that risk appears to increase with duration of use and dosage. The study, led by McGill University researchers, identified no increased risk related to rosiglitazone, also in the thiazolidinedione drug class. Noting contradictory findings in past studies assessing bladder cancer risk with pioglitazone therapy, the researchers focused on records of 145,806 patients from the UK Clinical Practice Research Database (CPRD), who were newly treated with diabetes drugs between 2000 and 2013. Compared with no thiazolidinedione use, the use of pioglitazone was associated with an overall 63% increased risk of bladder cancer (121 per 100,000 person years vs. 89 per 100,000 person years). Study authors emphasize that, in absolute terms, the risk of bladder cancer remains low but suggest the association be taken into consideration when assessing the overall upsides and downsides of the therapy.

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