Doctors believe the protein prostasin can serve as an early warning sign for patients at risk of diabetes and cancer.
Researchers in Sweden and China analysed two decades of health records from more than 4,500 middle-aged adults on the Malmö diet and cancer study and found that those with the highest levels of prostasin were almost twice as likely to have diabetes.
Prostasin plays several roles, from regulating blood pressure and volume to suppressing the growth of tumours fuelled by high blood sugar.
According to Dr Xue Bao of the affiliated hospital of Nanjing University Medical School in China, prostasin was also a potential new “risk marker” for death from cancer, particularly in people with high blood sugar.
Patients in the top quarter for prostasin levels were 43% more likely to die from cancer than those in the bottom quarter.
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