Diabetes type II, other medical conditions and pancreatic cancer risk: a prospective study in The Netherlands

Br J Cancer. 2013 Nov 26;109(11):2924-32. doi: 10.1038/bjc.2013.629. Epub 2013 Oct 22.


Background: To date, only a few risk factors for pancreatic cancer have been established. We examined prospectively relations between several medical conditions and pancreatic cancer incidence.

Methods: In 1986, 120 852 participants completed a baseline questionnaire on cancer risk factors, including several self-reported physician diagnosed medical conditions. At baseline, a random subcohort of 5000 participants was selected using a case-cohort approach for analysis. After 16.3 years of follow-up, 448 pancreatic cancer cases (63% microscopically confirmed) were available for analysis.

Results: Diabetes mellitus type II and hepatitis were positively associated with pancreatic cancer risk (multivariable-adjusted hazard ratio: 1.79; 95% confidence interval: 1.12-2.87 and hazard ratio: 1.37; 95% confidence interval: 1.04-1.81, respectively). Furthermore, a positive trend in risk with increasing years of diagnosis of diabetes (P=0.004) and of hepatitis (P=0.02) was observed. However, an inverse association was observed between hypertension and pancreatic cancer risk, this was found among microscopically confirmed cases only (hazard ratio: 0.66; 95% confidence interval: 0.49-0.90), while years since diagnosis of hypertension significantly decreased cancer risk (P for trend=0.02).

Conclusion: In this prospective study, a positive association was observed between self-reported physician diagnosed diabetes mellitus type II and hepatitis and pancreatic cancer risk, whereas an inverse association was observed with hypertension.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cohort Studies
  • Comorbidity
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Netherlands / epidemiology
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors