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Diabetes Res Clin Pract. 2019 Feb;148:200-211. doi: 10.1016/j.diabres.2019.01.002. Epub 2019 Jan 18.

Methylglyoxal, a potent inducer of AGEs, connects between diabetes and cancer.

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Metastasis Research Laboratory, GIGA-Cancer, University of Liège, Belgium.
Laboratoire des Biomolécules, UMR 7203, Sorbonne Université, Paris, France.
Metastasis Research Laboratory, GIGA-Cancer, University of Liège, Belgium. Electronic address:


Diabetes is one of the most frequent diseases throughout the world and its incidence is predicted to exponentially progress in the future. This metabolic disorder is associated with major complications such as neuropathy, retinopathy, atherosclerosis, and diabetic nephropathy, the severity of which correlates with hyperglycemia, suggesting that they are triggered by high glucose condition. Reducing sugars and reactive carbonyl species such as methylglyoxal (MGO) lead to glycation of proteins, lipids and DNA and the gradual accumulation of advanced glycation end products (AGEs) in cells and tissues. While AGEs are clearly implicated in the pathogenesis of diabetes complications, their potential involvement during malignant tumor development, progression and resistance to therapy is an emerging concept. Meta-analysis studies established that patients with diabetes are at higher risk of developing cancer and show a higher mortality rate than cancer patients free of diabetes. In this review, we highlight the potential connection between hyperglycemia-associated AGEs formation on the one hand and the recent evidence of pro-tumoral effects of MGO stress on the other hand. We also discuss the marked interest in anti-glycation compounds in view of their strategic use to treat diabetic complications but also to protect against augmented cancer risk in patients with diabetes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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