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Elevated glucose levels and diabetes are associated with increased risk for cancer

New research involving more than one million people indicates that having high fasting serum glucose levels and diabetes are risk factors for several major cancers, according to a study in the January 12 issue of JAMA.

Diabetes mellitus is a serious and costly disease that is becoming increasingly common in many countries, including Korea, the site of this study, according to background information in the article. Recent data show that approximately 150 million people have diabetes mellitus worldwide, and this number may double by 2025, especially in developing countries, because of population growth, aging, unhealthy diets, obesity, and sedentary lifestyles.

Sun Ha Jee, Ph.D., M.H.S., of the Graduate School of Public Health, Yonsei University, Seoul, Korea, and colleagues examined the relationship between fasting serum glucose and diabetes and risk of all cancers and specific cancers in men and women in Korea. The 10 year Korean Cancer Prevention Study (KCPS) included 1,298,385 Koreans (829,770 men and 468,615 women) aged 30 to 95 years who received health insurance from the National Health Insurance Corp. and had a biennial medical evaluation in 1992-1995.

During the 10 years of follow-up, there were 20,566 cancer deaths in men and 5,907 cancer deaths in women. The researchers found that, while controlling for smoking and alcohol use, the group with the highest fasting serum glucose (140 mg/dL or greater [7.8 mmol/L or greater]) had a higher death rates from all cancers combined (29 percent higher for men; 23 percent higher for women) compared with the group with the lowest level (less than 90 mg/dL [less than 5.0 mmol/L]). By cancer site, the association was strongest for pancreatic cancer, comparing the highest and lowest stratums (91 percent increased risk in men; more than twice the risk for women). Significant associations were also found for cancers of the esophagus, liver, and colon/rectum in men and of the liver and cervix
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Contact: Tim Parsons
410-955-7619
JAMA and Archives Journals
11-Jan-2005


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