Diabetes mellitus and the risk of gallbladder disease: A systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective studies

J Diabetes Complications. 2016 Mar;30(2):368-73. doi: 10.1016/j.jdiacomp.2015.11.012. Epub 2015 Nov 14.


Background: Diabetes has been hypothesized to increase the risk of gallbladder disease based on the observation that obesity and insulin resistance are associated with gallbladder disease. Although several studies have investigated the association between a diabetes diagnosis and risk of gallbladder disease, the results have not been entirely consistent. For this reason we conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of the available cohort studies.

Materials and methods: We searched the PubMed and Embase databases for studies of diabetes and gallbladder disease (defined as gallstones, cholecystectomy, or cholecystitis) up to January 9th 2015. Prospective studies were included if they reported relative risk estimates and 95% confidence intervals of gallbladder disease associated with a diabetes diagnosis. Summary relative risks were estimated by use of a random effects model.

Results: We identified 10 prospective studies that could be included in the meta-analysis which included 223,651 cases among 7,365,198 participants. The summary RR for diabetes patients was 1.56 (95% CI: 1.26-1.93, I(2)=99.4%, pheterogeneity<0.0001). The results persisted when stratified by gender, and in most subgroup analyses and there was no heterogeneity among studies with more than 10 years duration of follow-up. There was no evidence of publication bias.

Conclusions: Our analysis provides further support for an increased risk of gallbladder disease among diabetes patients.

Keywords: Diabetes mellitus; Gallbladder disease; Gallstones; Meta-analysis; Systematic review.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Diabetes Complications / epidemiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus / epidemiology*
  • Gallbladder Diseases / complications
  • Gallbladder Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Obesity / complications
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors