Pancreatic cancer and diabetes

Adv Exp Med Biol. 2012;771:229-39. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4614-5441-0_18.


Diabetes studies have increasingly been associated with several types of cancer. Diabetes and pancreatic cancer have a unique relationship. Genetic mutations, such as activation of the KRAS2 oncogene, inactivation of the tumor-suppressor gene CDKN2A, inactivation of the tumor-suppressor gene TP53 and deleted in pancreatic cancer 4 (DPC4) gene defects are seen in those with pancreatic cancer. Approximately 80% of those patients, diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, are identified as having concomitant diabetes with a poor prognostic factor. Damaged pancreatic tissue, secondary to pancreatic cancer, leads to diabetes as islet cells and beta cells are taken over by malignancy. Additionally, those on certain anti-diabetic regimens are shown to be at a higher risk of developing pancreatic cancer due to the effect of stimulation on the pancreatic beta and islet cells. Therefore, diabetes is thought to be both a potential cause and effect of pancreatic cancer. Diabetes has become a pandemic, and pancreatic cancer is one of the most lethal forms of malignancy known. In order to better understand these diseases and how they are associated, more research needs to be done. Particularly, research focusing on different types of diabetes in the setting of pancreatic cancer will be an important issue for further understanding of the link between diabetes and pancreatic cancer.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diabetes Mellitus / epidemiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / genetics*
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Risk Factors