Diabetes Self-Management Blog

The prescription gel becaplermin (brand name Regranex), which is used to treat foot ulcers and leg ulcers, is being investigated for a possible link to increased cancer risk in people with diabetes.

In a news release last month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that “there may be some evidence for an increased risk of death from cancer in patients who had repeated treatments with Regranex.” The organization is conducting a safety review of the drug. It is not currently telling doctors to stop prescribing Regranex; instead, it says that the benefits of the drug in helping heal ulcers should be weighed against its risks for each individual patient.

Regranex was approved by the FDA in 1997. In 2001, a long-term study showed a higher rate of cancer in people who used Regranex compared to those who didn’t. Now, a new study examining a health insurance database has compared two groups of adults with diabetes, one of which used Regranex and one of which did not. Neither group had a history of cancer, and the two had similar histories of diagnoses, medicine use, and use of health services. Over a five-year period, the researchers found a higher rate of death from all types of cancer in the people who received three or more prescriptions for Regranex compared to those who did not use the drug. Whether there was a higher rate of new cancer development in the people who used Regranex wasn’t clear from the data.

Regranex, a gel that is applied directly to foot and leg ulcers that aren’t healing, contains a recombinant form of human platelet-derived growth factor. The substance helps heal ulcers by stimulating cells to divide more rapidly; however, this action may also increase cancer risk.

The FDA has asked health-care professionals to report any “serious and unexpected adverse reactions associated with Regranex” to the FDA MedWatch reporting program. Reports can be filed online at www.fda.gov/medwatch/report.htm, by phone at (800) 332-1088, or by mailing form 3500, found here, to 5600 Fishers Lane, Rockville, MD, 20852-9787. The form can also be faxed to (800) FDA-0178.


We are currently experiencing technical difficulties with our commenting system. Thank you for your patience as we work to resolve them.

Foot Care
Why Wear Special Shoes for Diabetes? (11/17/14)
Why Do Your Feet Hurt? (11/05/14)
Healing Numb Feet (10/08/14)
Getting a Foot Up On Diabetes Care (02/25/14)

Diabetic Complications
"Pins and Needles" and Diabetes (12/12/14)
You Can Fight Chronic Pain With Food (11/10/14)
Mediterranean Diet May Benefit Kidneys (11/06/14)
Statins May Reduce Risk of Nerve Damage, Other Diabetes Complications (09/18/14)

Diabetes News
Sweet-Smelling Breath Holds Promise as Tool for Diagnosing Diabetes (12/12/14)
Painkiller Linked to Low Blood Sugar (12/11/14)
Neuropathy Medicine Recalled; Animas Vibe System Approved (12/05/14)
Battling Food Cravings? Try These Strategies. (11/21/14)



Disclaimer of Medical Advice: You understand that the blog posts and comments to such blog posts (whether posted by us, our agents or bloggers, or by users) do not constitute medical advice or recommendation of any kind, and you should not rely on any information contained in such posts or comments to replace consultations with your qualified health care professionals to meet your individual needs. The opinions and other information contained in the blog posts and comments do not reflect the opinions or positions of the Site Proprietor.