Although there is consent concerning a higher risk for colorectal cancer (CRC) amongst patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), there remains uncertainty regarding potential sex differences in the strength of this association. We reviewed and summarised epidemiological studies assessing the sex-specific association of T2DM with the risk for CRC. All relevant studies published until 14th February 2011 were identified by a systematic search of MEDLINE, EMBASE, BIOSIS Previews and ISI Web of Knowledge databases and cross-referencing. We included observational studies that reported relative risk (RR) or odds ratio (OR) estimates with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for the association between T2DM and CRC. Two authors independently extracted data and assessed study quality of each study in a standardised manner. Study-specific estimates were pooled for both sexes separately using random-effects models. A total of 29 eligible studies were used for meta-analysis. Overall estimates of relative risk (RR) were very similar amongst men (RR=1.29; 95%-confidence interval (CI): 1.19-1.140) and women (RR=1.34; 95%-CI: 1.22-1.47). In both men and women, risk estimates from case-control studies were slightly higher than those from cohort studies. Overall, T2DM is associated with a moderate increase in CRC risk in both men and women.
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