The findings have been presented in a study from Lund University in Sweden, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
"It was surprising to find such a clear link to the risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease as well as to breast cancer. Obesity is a common risk factor for all three conditions, but the connection with neurotensin is not explained by obesity or other known risk factors", says Professor Olle Melander from the Department of Clinical Sciences at Lund University, who is also a consultant at Sk-ne University Hospital.
"This is the first time a satiation hormone has been linked to these three common diseases in women. It therefore opens up a new field for continued research on risk assessment and preventive treatment", says Professor Marju Orho-Melander from the Department of Clinical Sciences at Lund University, one of the authors of the study.
It is interesting that the findings apply specifically to women. In the case of breast cancer this is obvious, but a better understanding of the development of cardiovascular disease in women is greatly needed.
The connection between neurotensin and these conditions in women was seen to be so strong that it has a clear impact on the patient's life expectancy. The strong connection also means it is appropriate to use neurotensin as a clinical risk marker for the conditions, in the view of the researchers. This provides new opportunities for early identification of women who are likely to develop cardiovascular disease, which cannot be predicted with the current known risk factors. This makes it possible to initiate preventive treatment at an early stage.