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Approved Research

Investigating the Causal Relationship between Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus and Ovarian Cancer using Two-Sample Mendelian Randomization

Principal Investigator: Mr Langat Victor
Approved Research ID: 67228
Approval date: November 10th 2020

Lay summary

The main aim of this project is to determine if type 2 diabetes mellitus has a causal relationship with ovarian cancer. Type 2 diabetes mellitus has been found to be linked to most types of cancers because it is associated with high blood sugars. Epidemiological researches have indicated that women with type 2 diabetes mellitus have ovarian steroid hormone that alters the normal levels of other hormones like estrogen, androgen and progesterone hence creating an environment favorable for the development of cancer in the ovaries. Other studies have also indicated that the high blood sugars usually accelerates cell multiplication and slows down cell self-destruction mechanism leading to the advancement of ovarian cancer. 

The causal relationship between type 2 diabetes mellitus and ovarian cancer has been investigated by other researchers using observational methods like case-control and cohort studies. However, these studies have yielded conflicting points of view because of errors arising from other factors that are not of interest. Therefore, this project seeks to apply two-sample Mendelian randomization method to investigate the causal relationship between type 2 diabetes and ovarian cancer. This method uses genes which are randomly allocated at conception and are non-modifiable hence not affected by any other factor other than that of interest.

This project champions for the adoption of Mendelian randomization technique when investigating the causal relationship between the exposure and the outcome since it uses genes which undergo randomized allocation at conception hence free from variables that are not of interest (confounding factors) and reverse causality hence there is high chances of getting consistent and reliable results. Apart from that, if the project indicates that type 2 diabetes mellitus has a causal link with ovarian cancer, it can pave way for further research and development of diabetes medication. This project is expected to take at most six months.