Abnormal glucose metabolism and pancreatic cancer mortality

JAMA. 2000 May 17;283(19):2552-8. doi: 10.1001/jama.283.19.2552.


Context: Previous studies reported an increased risk of pancreatic cancer among persons with diabetes. Few data exist, however, on the association of postload plasma glucose concentration with pancreatic cancer, which could provide insight into the role of abnormal glucose metabolism in the etiology of pancreatic cancer.

Objective: To determine the independent association between postload plasma glucose concentration and risk of pancreatic cancer mortality among persons without self-reported diabetes.

Design: Prospective cohort study.

Setting and participants: Employees of 84 Chicago-area organizations, with an average age of 40 years at baseline, were screened from 1963 to 1973 and followed up for an average of 25 years. A total of 96 men and 43 women died of pancreatic cancer among 20,475 men and 15,183 women, respectively.

Main outcome measures: Relationship of pancreatic cancer mortality with postload plasma glucose levels.

Results: Compared with a postload plasma glucose level of 6.6 mmol/L (119 mg/dL) or less and after adjusting for age, race, cigarette smoking, and body mass index, the relative risks (95% confidence intervals) of pancreatic cancer mortality were 1.65 (1.05-2.60) for postload plasma glucose levels between 6.7 (120) and 8.8 (159) mmol/L (mg/dL); 1.60 (0.95-2.70) for levels between 8.9 (160) and 11.0 (199); and 2.15 (1.22-3.80) for levels of 11.1 (200) or more; P for trend=.01. An association appeared to be stronger for men than women. Estimates were only slightly lower after excluding 11 men and 2 women who died of pancreatic cancer during the first 5 years of follow-up. In men only, higher body mass index and serum uric acid concentration also were independently associated with an elevated risk of pancreatic cancer mortality.

Conclusion: These results suggest that factors associated with abnormal glucose metabolism may play an important role in the etiology of pancreatic cancer. JAMA. 2000;283:2552-2558

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Glucose Tolerance Test
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / blood*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / etiology
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors


  • Blood Glucose