top of page

Is It Worth The Risk? Wegovy, Ozempic, Mounjaro, Weight Loss Drugs And Thyroid Cancer

Updated: Jan 20, 2023

Glucose balance in the body is a complex dance involving several key players such as Insulin, glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1), glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP), amylin, dipeptidyl peptidase 4 (DPP-4) and more.

Pancreatic beta cells produce Insulin and amylin. Both Insulin and Amylin get secreted together. Amylin can affect sugar balance through multiple mechanisms, including:

  • Slowing down gastric emptying

  • Decreasing glucagon release

  • Reducing hunger

L cells of the small intestine produce Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1). GLP-1 binds to GLP-1 receptors found in various tissues, including pancreatic beta cells, pancreatic ducts, gastric mucosa, kidney, heart, skin, immune cells, and the hypothalamus. GLP-1 has several functions:

  • Stimulates glucose-dependent insulin release from pancreatic islets

  • Slows down stomach emptying

  • Prevents inappropriate post-meal glucagon release

  • Decreases appetite

K cells of the small intestine produce Glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP). GIP binds to GIP receptors in pancreatic beta and alpha cells, subcutaneous visceral and adipose tissue, bone, and heart. GIP gets secreted along with GLP-1. Together they act to stimulate insulin secretion. However, GIP does not affect gastric emptying.

Dipeptidyl peptidase 4 is an enzyme found on the surface of most cell types. It deactivated several bioactive peptides, including GLP-1 and GIP.

Recently, there have been several new drugs on the market for both diabetes and obesity that act as GLP-1 agonists. There have been some concerns about the risk of thyroid cancer, but we don’t have much data yet.

In a new study published in the Diabetes Care journal, researchers did a case-control analysis of data from France’s national health care insurance system database. They included patients with type 2 diabetes who were on GLP-1, DPP-IV inhibitors, metformin, sulfonylureas, repaglinide, alpha-glucosidase inhibitors, or thiazolidinediones. The time frame for the data collection was 2006-2018. New cases of thyroid cancer from 2014 to 2018 were included in the study.

The study included 3,746,672 people with type 2 diabetes. 4,466 patients developed thyroid cancer during the study time frame. After excluding patients with a history of cancer, they analyzed data from 2,562 adults and matched them with 45,184 controls without thyroid cancer.

The researchers found that those patients currently using a GLP-1 receptor agonist had a 46% higher risk of thyroid cancer than those not using it. Patients using GLP-1 agonists for 1-3 years had a 58% higher risk of thyroid cancer. Lastly, patients using GLP-1 agonists for more than three years had a 36% higher risk for thyroid cancer.

The bottom line is that doctors and patients should be aware of the potential risk for thyroid cancer with GLP-1. We should not look at them as a magic bullet that replaces lifestyle medicine but used as a tool in select cases with proper guidance.


135 views1 comment

1 Comment

Dec 02, 2023

I'm grateful for the peace of mind this product provides. It helps me stay on track and be proactive about my diabetes care. click here to revolutionize your diabetes routine!

bottom of page