Diabetes and cancer

Endocrinol Metab Clin North Am. 2014 Mar;43(1):167-85. doi: 10.1016/j.ecl.2013.09.008. Epub 2013 Dec 13.


Diabetes is a worldwide health problem that has been increasingly associated with various types of cancers. Epidemiologic studies have shown an increased risk of cancer as well as a higher mortality rate in patients with type 2 diabetes (T2D). The biologic mechanisms driving the link between T2D and cancer are not well understood. In this review, various proposed mechanisms are addressed to explain the relationship between T2D and cancer. Understanding the precise mechanisms that link T2D, obesity, and the metabolic syndrome with cancer will aid in developing treatments that will reduce mortality in individuals with T2D and cancer.

Keywords: Cancer; Diabetes mellitus; Hyperglycemia; Hyperinsulinemia; Inflammation; Metabolic syndrome; Obesity.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / complications*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / immunology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Neoplasms / immunology
  • Neoplasms / metabolism