Aristolochic acid and the risk of cancers in patients with type 2 diabetes: Nationwide population-based cohort study

Phytomedicine. 2022 Mar 3;99:154023. doi: 10.1016/j.phymed.2022.154023. Online ahead of print.


Background: Both aristolochic acid (AA) exposure and diabetic can increase risk of certain cancers,whetherAAexposureincreases cancer risk in diabetic patientsisunknown. The purpose of this study was to investigate the association between the use of Chinese herbal products containing AA and the risk of cancer in diabetic patients.

Methods: A cohort study was conducted using the National Health Insurance Research Database in Taiwan. Patients older than 18 years who were diagnosed with diabetes between 1997 and 2010 were enrolled in our cohort. The use of Chinese herbal products containing AA was recorded from the beginning of 1997 until the ban of herbs containing AA in November 2003. Patients were individually tracked to identify cancer incidence between 1997 and 2013. Only patients who visited traditional Chinese medicine clinics between 1997 and 1 year before the end of follow-up were included in the cohort to ensure comparability. Cox proportional hazards regression was used to calculate the hazard ratio for the association between the use of Chinese herbal products containing AA and the occurrence of cancer.

Results: Among the 430 377 male and 431 956 female patients with diabetes enrolled in our cohort, 37 554 and 31 535 cancer diagnoses were recorded during the study period, respectively. The use of AA-containing herbal products was associated with a significantly higher risk of liver, colorectum, kidney, bladder, prostate, pelvis, and ureter cancer in a dose-dependent manner. An increased risk of extrahepatic bile duct cancer in women was also associated with AA exposure at doses of more than 500 mg.

Conclusions: Association between AA exposure and the risk of some cancers were found in this study. AA exposure might increase risk of kidney,bladder,pelvis, ureter,liver,colorectum,andprostatecancer in all patientsandextrahepatic bile duct cancerin women.

Keywords: Aristolochic acid; Cancers; Cohort study; Herbal medicine; Type 2 diabetes.