Aim: The purpose of this study was to determine whether diabetes mellitus is associated with an increased risk of colorectal cancer.
Methods: Relevant studies were identified in MEDLINE and EMBASE (up until November 1st, 2011). Inclusion criteria were original, peer-reviewed publications, with case-control and cohort studies (for studies on diabetes mellitus and colorectal cancer). Summary relative risks with 95% confidence intervals were calculated with a random-effects model.
Results: Twenty-four studies including eight case-control and 16 cohort studies, with a total of 3,659,341 participants, were included in this updated systematic review and meta-analysis, and all involved diabetes mellitus and colorectal cancer risk. Meta-analysis of the 24 included studies indicated that diabetes was associated with an increased risk of colorectal cancer, compared with no diabetes (summary RR of colorectal cancer incidence = 1.26, 95% CI = 1.20-1.31), without heterogeneity between studies (P(heterogeneity) = 0.296). Sub-group analyses found that these results were consistent between case-control and cohort studies and among studies conducted in different areas. The association between diabetes and colorectal cancer incidence did not differ significantly by sex and sub-sites. Insulin therapy was also positively associated with risk of colorectal cancer (summary RR = 1.61, 95% CI 1.18-1.35), with evidence of heterogeneity between studies (P(heterogeneity) = 0.014).
Conclusions: Our findings further support a relationship between diabetes and increased risk of colon and rectal cancer in both women and men, and insulin therapy for diabetes may increase this risk.