The class of drugs is known as incretin mimetics and some of the drugs currently being investigated by the FDA include Merck's Januvia and Janumet, Danish-based Novo Nordisk's Victoza and Bristol-Myers Squibb's Byetta and Bydureon.
The agency revealed that pancreas tissue samples taken from a small number of patients displayed inflammation and cellular changes often seen before cancer develops. However it was quick to clarify that the investigation did not mean it believed the drugs could lead to pancreatic cancer. "FDA has not concluded these drugs may cause or contribute to the development of pancreatic cancer. At this time, patients should continue to take their medicine as directed", an agency statement said.