Diabetes increases the risk of developing and dying from breast and colon cancer

September 27, 2013, ECCO-the European CanCer Organisation

Diabetes is linked to an increased risk of developing cancer, and now researchers have performed a unique meta-analysis that excludes all other causes of death and found that diabetic patients not only have an increased risk of developing breast and colon cancer but an even higher risk of dying from them.

Dr Kirstin De Bruijn will tell the 2013 European Cancer Congress (ECC2013) [1], on Sunday, that previous studies have examined the association between and dying from cancer but death from specific has not been well-studied. "Our meta-analysis is the first to combine incidence and death from breast and colon cancer, while excluding all other causes of death. We have investigated the link between diabetes and the risk of developing as well as the risk of dying from these cancers," she will say.

Dr De Bruijn, a PhD student in the Surgery Department at the Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam (The Netherlands), and colleagues analysed results from 20 trials that had taken place between 2007 and 2012, involving more than 1.9 million patients with breast or colon cancer, with or without diabetes.

They found that patients with diabetes had a 23% increased risk of developing and a 38% increased risk of dying from the disease compared to non-diabetic patients. Diabetic patients had a 26% increased risk of developing colon cancer and a 30% increased risk of dying from it compared to non-diabetic patients.

Dr De Bruijn will say: "The results for breast and colon in patients with diabetes are consistent with other meta-analyses. Furthermore, this meta-analysis shows a higher risk and a stronger association between diabetes and death from breast and colon cancer than previously reported.

"Cancer patients who are obese and diabetic are an already more vulnerable group of individuals when it comes to surgery, as they have an increased risk of developing complications both during and after surgery. If more obese and diabetic patients have to have an operation because of cancer, healthcare costs will increase.

"Worldwide, the numbers of obese and subsequent diabetic patients are still increasing and it is a cause for concern that these individuals are at a higher risk of developing cancer and dying from it. Studies have already highlighted the increased risk of developing cancer for diabetics. Our meta-analysis, which is unique since it looks at the risks for breast and colon cancer while excluding all other causes of death, provides stronger evidence for the association between diabetes and the risk of developing and dying from these cancers. We want to make people more aware of this problem and we hope that prevention campaigns regarding obese and will focus on highlighting this increased risk."

Dr De Bruijn and her colleagues intend to follow up their work by investigating what effect other factors associated with diabetes have on cancer risk and death, such as the anti-diabetic medication, metformin, as well as insulin and the duration of diabetes.

"It is extremely important that prevention campaigns on obesity and diabetes are intensified and that they also focus on children, to prevent them from becoming obese and developing cancer later in life," she will conclude.

Professor Cornelis van de Velde, President of ECCO, said: "With the increase in incidence of both diabetes and breast cancer, this is an important update of the meta-analyses on this subject and an interesting addition to the literature as this study excluded other causes of death. As the results are consistent with earlier meta-analyses, the substantial of breast cancer should be part of prevention campaigns. For further research, it would be important to study how other, competing risk factors might affect survival, as elderly with diabetes are usually diagnosed with other conditions as well. Additionally, the potential role of metformin in relation to improved survival and cancer recurrence needs to be studied."

Professor Hans-Joerg Senn, scientific director at the Tumor and Breast Centre ZeTuP, St Gallen, Switzerland, said: "The message from the Erasmus Medical Center is disturbing and highly important, for the medical community, as well as for the public and politicians. It highlights once more the importance of the negative interactions between lifestyle, metabolism, overweight and certain frequent types of cancers, such as here between diabetes, obesity and breast cancer as well as . It is time for increased and more effective information and prevention campaigns, especially in the economically developed world, where caloric abundance is prevalent."

Explore further: Metformin may lower cancer risk in people with Type 2 diabetes

More information: [1] The 2013 European Cancer Congress is the 17th congress of the European CanCer Organisation (ECCO), the 38th congress of the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) and the 32nd congress of European Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology (ESTRO).

[2] No external funding was provided for this work.

Abstract no: 1402, "A meta-analysis on breast and colorectal cancer in diabetic patients: higher incidences and mortality rates". Public Health and Epidemiology, proffered papers session, Sunday 29 September 09.00.00 hrs (CEST), Elicium 1.

Related Stories

Metformin may lower cancer risk in people with Type 2 diabetes

June 25, 2012
A commonly prescribed diabetes drug, metformin, reduces the overall cancer risk in people with Type 2 diabetes, a large systematic review study finds. The results to be presented at The Endocrine Society's 94th Annual Meeting ...

No link found between various insulins and breast cancer

September 3, 2013
(HealthDay)—Various types of insulins are not associated with breast cancer risk, according to a study published online Aug. 15 in Diabetes Care.

Popular diabetes drug does not improve survival rates after cancer

May 9, 2013
Despite previous scientific studies that suggest diabetes drug metformin has anti-cancer properties, a new, first-of-its-kind study from Women's College Hospital has found the drug may not actually improve survival rates ...

Post-breast cancer, metformin has no effect on mortality

July 3, 2013
(HealthDay)—For older women with diabetes and breast cancer, there is no association between metformin use and all-cause or breast cancer-specific mortality, according to a study published online April 30 in Diabetes Care.

Breast density does not influence breast cancer death among breast cancer patients

August 20, 2012
The risk of dying from breast cancer was not related to high mammographic breast density in breast cancer patients, according to a study published August 20 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Diabetes and obesity increase risk for breast cancer development

December 7, 2011
Having diabetes or being obese after age 60 significantly increases the risk for developing breast cancer, a Swedish study has revealed. Data also showed that high blood lipids were less common in patients when diagnosed ...

Recommended for you

Single blood test screens for eight cancer types

January 18, 2018
Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center researchers developed a single blood test that screens for eight common cancer types and helps identify the location of the cancer.

Researchers find a way to 'starve' cancer

January 18, 2018
Researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) have demonstrated for the first time that it is possible to starve a tumor and stop its growth with a newly discovered small compound that blocks uptake of the vital ...

How cancer metastasis happens: Researchers reveal a key mechanism

January 18, 2018
Cancer metastasis, the migration of cells from a primary tumor to form distant tumors in the body, can be triggered by a chronic leakage of DNA within tumor cells, according to a team led by Weill Cornell Medicine and Memorial ...

Modular gene enhancer promotes leukemia and regulates effectiveness of chemotherapy

January 18, 2018
Every day, billions of new blood cells are generated in the bone marrow. The gene Myc is known to play an important role in this process, and is also known to play a role in cancer. Scientists from the German Cancer Research ...

These foods may up your odds for colon cancer

January 18, 2018
(HealthDay)—Chowing down on red meat, white bread and sugar-laden drinks might increase your long-term risk of colon cancer, a new study suggests.

The pill lowers ovarian cancer risk, even for smokers

January 18, 2018
(HealthDay)—It's known that use of the birth control pill is tied to lower odds for ovarian cancer, but new research shows the benefit extends to smokers or women who are obese.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.