Sex differences in the association between diabetes and cancer: a systematic review and meta-analysis of 121 cohorts including 20 million individuals and one million events

Toshiaki Ohkuma, Sanne A.E. Peters, Mark Woodward

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

35 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Aims/hypothesis: Diabetes has been shown to be a risk factor for some cancers. Whether diabetes confers the same excess risk of cancer, overall and by site, in women and men is unknown. Methods: A systematic search was performed in PubMed for cohort studies published up to December 2016. Selected studies reported sex-specific relative risk (RR) estimates for the association between diabetes and cancer adjusted at least for age in both sexes. Random-effects meta-analyses with inverse-variance weighting were used to obtain pooled sex-specific RRs and women-to-men ratios of RRs (RRRs) for all-site and site-specific cancers. Results: Data on all-site cancer events (incident or fatal only) were available from 121 cohorts (19,239,302 individuals; 1,082,592 events). The pooled adjusted RR for all-site cancer associated with diabetes was 1.27 (95% CI 1.21, 1.32) in women and 1.19 (1.13, 1.25) in men. Women with diabetes had ~6% greater risk compared with men with diabetes (the pooled RRR was 1.06, 95% CI 1.03, 1.09). Corresponding pooled RRRs were 1.10 (1.07, 1.13) for all-site cancer incidence and 1.03 (0.99, 1.06) for all-site cancer mortality. Diabetes also conferred a significantly greater RR in women than men for oral, stomach and kidney cancer, and for leukaemia, but a lower RR for liver cancer. Conclusions/interpretation: Diabetes is a risk factor for all-site cancer for both women and men, but the excess risk of cancer associated with diabetes is slightly greater for women than men. The direction and magnitude of sex differences varies by location of the cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2140-2154
Number of pages15
JournalDiabetologia
Volume61
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2018
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism

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