Risk of cancer in young and middle-aged adults with childhood-onset type 1 diabetes in Sweden-A prospective cohort study

Diabet Med. 2022 Mar;39(3):e14771. doi: 10.1111/dme.14771. Epub 2021 Dec 26.


Aims/hypothesis: In persons with type 1 diabetes, the risk of cancer remains controversial. We wanted to examine the excess risk of cancer in a large population-based cohort diagnosed with type 1 diabetes before 15 years of age.

Study population and methods: From 1 July 1977 to 31 December 2013, we prospectively and on a national scale included 18,724 persons (53% men) with childhood-onset type 1 diabetes. For each person with type 1 diabetes, we selected four referents, matched for the date at birth and municipality of living at the time when the case developed diabetes. Cases and referents were linked to national registers of cancer and of the cause of death.

Results: A total of 125 persons (61% women) with diabetes had 135 different cancers, all diagnosed after the diabetes diagnosis. The median duration from diabetes diagnosis to first cancer diagnosis was 19 years (interquartile range 10-26). The median age at cancer diagnosis in the diabetes group was 28 years (interquartile range 20-35). The overall standardized incidence ratio (95%), using the Swedish general population as referents for women with diabetes was 1.28 (1.02, 1.58) and when comparing women with diabetes with matched referents, we found a hazard ratio of 1.42 (1.10, 1.85). No elevated risk was seen for men. Cancers of the breast and testis were the most common types in women and men respectively.

Conclusions: Women with childhood-onset type 1 diabetes had a small but significantly elevated risk of cancer. No such tendency was seen for men. The reason behind this is unclear.

Keywords: cancer; childhood-onset type 1 diabetes; cohort study; hazard ratio.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age of Onset
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / epidemiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / mortality
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Neoplasms / mortality
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Prospective Studies
  • Registries
  • Sex Factors
  • Sweden / epidemiology
  • Time Factors
  • Young Adult