Higher Incidence of Diabetes in Cancer Patients Compared to Cancer-Free Population Controls: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Keyi Yang, Zhunzhun Liu, Melissa S. Y. Thong, Daniela Doege, Volker Arndt

Research output: Contribution to JournalReview articleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Diabetes increases the risk of certain types of cancer. However, the literature regarding the incidence of diabetes after cancer diagnosis is inconsistent. We aimed to assess whether there was a higher incidence of diabetes among cancer patients by performing a systematic review and meta-analysis of results from cohort studies. Methods: A systematic electronic literature search was carried out from cohort studies regarding the incidence of diabetes in cancer patients, using the databases PubMed (MEDLINE), Embase, Web of Science, and the Cochrane Library. Random-effects meta-analyses were conducted to pool the estimates. Results: A total of 34 articles involving 360,971 cancer patients and 1,819,451 cancer-free controls were included in the meta-analysis. An increased pooled relative risk (RR) of 1.42 (95% confidence interval (CI): 1.30–1.54, I2 = 95, τ2 = 0.0551, p < 0.01) for diabetes in cancer patients was found compared with the cancer-free population. The highest relative risk was observed in the first year after cancer diagnosis (RR = 2.06; 95% CI 1.63–2.60). Conclusions: New-onset diabetes is positively associated with cancer, but this association varies according to cancer type. More prospective studies with large sample sizes and longer follow-up times are advocated to further examine the association and the underlying mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1808
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2022


  • cancer patients
  • cancer survivors
  • cohort studies
  • diabetes
  • meta-analysis
  • systematic review

Cite this