GLP-1RAs May Not Increase Breast Neoplasm Risk in Obesity and Diabetes

Computer artwork representing breast cancer, with a malignant tumour (red) in a woman’s breast.
Risk of cancer is a major concern in the development of drugs for obesity and diabetes. In this fstudy, Brazilian researchers presenting at the annual meeting of the Endocrine Society in March, presented the results of a study that examined whether patients treated with GLP-1RAsad. a higher of breast neoplasms.

The following article is part of our coverage of the Endocrine Society’s annual meeting (ENDO 2021) that is being held virtually from March 20-23, 2021. Endocrinology Advisor‘s staff will report on the top research in hormone science and clinical care. Check back for the latest news from ENDO 2021.


Obesity and diabetes treated with glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists (GLP-1RAs) may not increase the risk for breast neoplasms, according to study results presented at ENDO 2021, held virtually from March 20 to 23, 2021.

Cancer risk is a top concern in the development of drugs for the treatment of obesity and diabetes. In randomized controlled trials, patients with obesity and diabetes who were treated with GLP-1RAs experienced a higher absolute number of breast cancer events. The objective of this study was to determine whether patients treated with this drug were at higher risk for breast neoplasms.

In this study, researchers examined 52 randomized controlled trials in which adults with overweight, obesity, prediabetes, or diabetes were given GLP-1RAs or placebo. Qualifying studies were those in which patients reported at least 1 breast cancer event or benign breast neoplasm.

Results revealed that among the 48,267 patients who were treated with GLP-1RAs, 130 developed breast cancer compared with 107 of 40,755 controls (relative risk [RR] 0.98; 95% CI, 0.76-1.26). There was no difference observed in the risk for benign breast neoplasms between groups (RR 0.99; 95% CI, 0.48-2.01).

The study researchers concluded that the risk for breast neoplasms is not increased when patients with obesity and diabetes are treated with GLP-1RAs.

Disclosure: Multiple study authors declared affiliations with the pharmaceutical industry. Please see the original reference for a full list of authors’ disclosures.

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Piccoli GF, Mesquita LA, Stein C, et al. Do GLP-1 receptor agonists increase the risk of breast cancer? A systematic review and meta-analysis. Presented at: ENDO 2021; March 20-23, 2021. Presentation OR10.