The association between diabetes and gastric cancer: results from the Stomach Cancer Pooling Project Consortium

Eur J Cancer Prev. 2021 Jun 25. doi: 10.1097/CEJ.0000000000000703. Online ahead of print.


Background: Prior epidemiologic studies on the association between diabetes and gastric cancer risk provided inconclusive findings, while traditional, aggregate data meta-analyses were characterized by high between-study heterogeneity.

Objective: To investigate the association between type 2 diabetes and gastric cancer using data from the 'Stomach Cancer Pooling (StoP) Project', an international consortium of more than 30 case-control and nested case-control studies, which is large and provides harmonized definition of participants' characteristics across individual studies. The data have the potential to minimize between-study heterogeneity and provide greater statistical power for subgroup analysis.

Methods: We included 5592 gastric cancer cases and 12 477 controls from 14 studies from Europe, Asia, North America, and South America in a two-stage individual-participant data meta-analysis. Random-effect models were used to estimate summary odds ratios (ORs) and their corresponding 95% confidence intervals (CIs) by pooling study-specific ORs.

Results: We did not find an overall association between diabetes and gastric cancer (pooled OR = 1.01, 95% CI, 0.94-1.07). However, the risk of cardia gastric cancer was significantly higher among individuals with type 2 diabetes (OR = 1.16, 95% CI, 1.02-1.33). There was no association between diabetes and gastric cancer risk in strata of Helicobacter pylori infection serostatus, age, sex, BMI, smoking status, alcohol consumption, fruit/vegetable intake, gastric cancer histologic type, and source of controls.

Conclusion: This study provides additional evidence that diabetes is unrelated to gastric cancer overall but may be associated with excess cardia gastric cancer risk.