Diabetes status and post-load plasma glucose concentration in relation to site-specific cancer mortality: findings from the original Whitehall study

Cancer Causes Control. 2004 Nov;15(9):873-81. doi: 10.1007/s10552-004-1050-z.


Objective: While several studies have reported on the relation of diabetes status with pancreatic cancer risk, the predictive value of this disorder for other malignancies is unclear.

Methods: The Whitehall study, a 25 year follow-up for mortality experience of 18,006 men with data on post-challenge blood glucose and self-reported diabetes, allowed us to address these issues.

Results: There were 2158 cancer deaths at follow-up. Of the 15 cancer outcomes, diabetes status was positively associated with mortality from carcinoma of the pancreas and liver, while the relationship with lung cancer was inverse, after controlling for a range of potential covariates and mediators which included obesity and socioeconomic position. After excluding deaths occurring in the first 10 years of follow-up to examine the effect of reverse causality, the magnitude of the relationships for carcinoma of the pancreas and lung was little altered, while for liver cancer it was markedly attenuated.

Conclusions: In the present study, diabetes status was related to pancreatic, liver, and lung cancer risk. Cohorts with serially collected data on blood glucose and covariates are required to further examine this area.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Blood Glucose / analysis*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Diabetes Complications*
  • England / epidemiology
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Glucose Tolerance Test
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / complications
  • Neoplasms / mortality*


  • Blood Glucose