Pre-existing diabetes mellitus increases the risk of gastric cancer: a meta-analysis

World J Gastroenterol. 2013 Feb 14;19(6):936-45. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v19.i6.936.


Aim: To systematically assess the association between diabetes and incidence of gastric cancer.

Methods: We searched MedLine (PubMed), EMBASE, and the Cochrane Library without any limitations with respect to publication date or language, we also searched the references of qualifying articles. Case-control studies and cohort studies comparing the risk of gastric cancer between diabetic patients and control subjects were included. We excluded studies reporting only standardized incidence ratios without control groups and those that investigated only mortality but not incidence. Seventeen studies met our criteria, and the qualities of these studies were assessed using the Newcastle-Ottawa Quality Assessment Scale. We performed a meta-analysis of pre-existing diabetes and gastric cancer incidence using the DerSimonian-Laird method for random-effects. For subgroup analyses, we separated the studies by study type, region, sex and method to determine confounding factors and reliability. We also conducted subgroup analyses to examine the effects of smoking, Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection, and cancer site. Publication bias was evaluated using Begg's test.

Results: A random-effects model meta-analysis showed an increased gastric cancer risk in diabetic patients [relative risk (RR) = 1.19; 95%CI: 1.08-1.31]. Subgroup analyses indicated that this result persisted in cohort studies (RR = 1.20; 95%CI: 1.08-1.34), in studies on populations of both Western (RR = 1.18; 95%CI: 1.03-1.36) and Eastern countries (RR = 1.19; 95%CI: 1.02-1.38), in a female subgroup (RR=1.24; 95%CI: 1.01-1.52), and in highly qualified studies (RR = 1.17; 95%CI: 1.05-1.31). Moreover, these results persisted when the analysis was confined to studies adjusted for well-known gastric cancer risk factors such as smoking (RR = 1.17; 95%CI: 1.01-1.34) and H. pylori infection (RR = 2.35; 95%CI: 1.24-4.46).

Conclusion: Pre-existing diabetes mellitus may increase the risk of gastric cancer by approximately 19%. This effect seems to be unrelated to geographical region.

Keywords: Diabetes mellitus; Disease association; Gastric cancer; Incidence; Meta-analysis; Risk.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Diabetes Mellitus / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Prevalence
  • Residence Characteristics
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Stomach Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Time Factors
  • Young Adult