Diabetes Linked to Numerous Cancers in Large Chinese Study

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By : dLife Editors

A new study from China found that Type 2 diabetes was linked with an elevated risk of 11 types of cancer in men and 13 types of cancer in women.

The possible association between diabetes and cancer risk has long been speculated but previously reported findings have been inconsistent.

In the largest study to date concerning the association between Type 2 diabetes and cancer risk in mainland China, investigators examined the information from the Shanghai Hospital Link database.

“The Shanghai Hospital Link Center has collected clinical information from the main general and specialized hospitals and created a centralized data repository for all residents in Shanghai since 2013,” explains said co-author Dr. Bin Cui, of the Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, in China. “Based on this database, our research could be carried out smoothly and efficiently,” he said.

How was the Study Conducted?

They identified 410,191 adults with Type 2 diabetes (and without a history of cancer) from July 2013 to December 2016. Patients were followed until December 2017 to assess for the development of cancer.

A total of 8,485 cases of newly diagnosed cancer were identified. Men and women with diabetes had 34 percent and 62 percent higher risks of developing cancer than men and women in the general population, respectively.

Among males, the highest risk was for prostate cancer: diabetes was linked with an 86 higher risk for this malignancy.

Diabetes was also linked with higher risks of leukemia, skin cancer, thyroid cancer, lymphoma, kidney cancer, liver cancer, pancreatic cancer, lung cancer, colorectal cancer, and stomach cancer. A significantly decreased risk was noted for esophageal cancer.

In women, the highest risk was for nasopharynx cancer: diabetes was linked with a greater than twofold higher risk for this malignancy.

Diabetes was also linked with higher risks of liver cancer, esophageal cancer, thyroid cancer, lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, lymphoma, uterine cancer, colorectal cancer, leukemia, breast cancer, cervical cancer, and stomach cancer.

In contrast, there was a significantly decreased risk of gallbladder cancer.

Bin Cui and his co-authors recommend establishing strategies for cancer-specific screening and prevention among patients with Type 2 diabetes.


  1. Diabetes linked to numerous cancers in large Chinese study. EurekAlert! (May 9, 2019). Retrieved: https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2019-05/w-dlt050819.php