Prediabetes linked with 15 per cent higher risks of cancer

Wed, 10 Sep 2014
A meta-analysis of 16 different clinical studies has shown that prediabetes is linked with 15 per cent greater risks of cancer overall and even higher risks of specific cancers.

Prediabetes, also known impaired glucose regulation (IGR) is a condition in which blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes. Recent analysis of statistics estimates that 1 in 3 adults have prediabetes in England.

Researchers from Sun Yat-sen University in China reviewed the results of 16 different studies which included 891,426 individuals. The researchers found that overall cancer risks were 15% higher for people with prediabetes than people without the condition.

The forms of cancer that were significantly higher in people with prediabetes included: Of these, the effects of prediabetes had the greatest effects on risks of liver, stomach/colorectal and endometrial cancers.

Not all forms of cancer, however, were higher in people with prediabetes. Those that were not associated with an increased in people with prediabetes included lung, kidney, prostate, ovarian and bladder cancers.

Greater risks of cancer were apparent in people with fasting plasma glucose levels as low as 5.6 mmol/l. The researchers regard this as justification of the American Diabetes Association's decision to use an HbA1c of 5.7-6.4% (39-47 mmol/mol) as the diagnosis window for prediabetes. By contrast, the UK guidelines define prediabetes as being 6.0-6.4% (42 to 47 mmol/mol).
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