Levemir Does Not Increase Risk of Cancer: Studies October 01, 2009 Sam Cage VIENNA (Reuters) – Novo Nordisk’s Levemir was not associated in any increase in incidence of cancer when compared with human insulin in studies including some 9,000 patients, according to a new analysis released on Thursday. The Danish drugmaker has distanced itself from a scare over diabetes treatment Lantus, pointing out its modern insulin Levemir had different characteristics to Sanofi-Aventis’s product. Scientists analysed data from 21 randomised trials and concluded Levemir was associated with a statistically significant lower rate of cancer than human insulin treatment. Incidence of cancer was also lower when compared with Lantus, though the difference was not statistically significant, according to the analysis, released at a European Association for the Study of Diabetes meeting in Vienna. Studies have highlighted a possible link between Sanofi’s drug Lantus, or glargine, and cancer and the French group is investigating further. Lantus and Levemir are both long-acting insulin analogues used by diabetics to control their blood sugar, but Levemir was launched more recently and so was not assessed in those studies. Novo Nordisk says Levemir is different from Lantus because it does not bind any more than human insulin to the insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) receptor, which is known to be involved in promoting tumour growth. Unlike human insulin, a hormone normally produced by the pancreas that helps the body use glucose for energy, Levemir and Lantus have a slightly altered molecular structure that allows them to last longer in the body. An estimated 246 million people globally have diabetes. Most have type 2 diabetes, the kind linked with a poor diet and lack of exercise. The Danish group also markets two other insulin analogues, NovoRapid/NovoLog, a short-acting insulin analogue, and NovoMix/NovoLog.