Incidence and predictors of all-cause and site-specific cancer in type 2 diabetes: the Fremantle Diabetes Study Academic Article uri icon


  • ObjectiveTo explore the relationship between diabetes and cancer.DesignThe Fremantle Diabetes Study (FDS) was a community-based longitudinal observational study of 1426 subjects, 1294 of which had type 2 diabetes.MethodsThe FDS type 2 cohort and four age-, sex- and postcode-matched controls per case were followed for cancer events from 1993 until mid-2010 and incidence rate ratios (IRRs) were calculated. Competing risks proportional hazards models generated risk factors for incident cancers in the diabetic group.ResultsThere were 309 first cancers over 13 051 patient-years, or 2368 (95% confidence interval (95% CI) 2111–2647)/100 000 patient-years in the diabetes patients vs 1131 over 60 324 patient-years (1875 (1769–1987)/100 000 patient-years) in the controls. For those aged ≥45 years, the risk of all-cause cancer was elevated in type 2 diabetic men (IRRs 1.23, 95% CI 1.04–1.45) and women (1.30, 1.06–1.59). The incidence of colorectal cancer was increased (1.36, 1.01–1.82), especially in diabetic men aged 75–84 years (2.14, 1.22–3.64). Age at diabetes diagnosis (sub-hazard ratio 1.05, 1.02–1.09), calcium channel blocker therapy (2.37, 1.39–4.06), recent exercise (2.11, 1.06–4.20) and serum total cholesterol (0.68, 0.52–0.88) increased colorectal cancer risk. Pancreatic cancer was also more frequent in the diabetic patients (IRR 2.26, 1.20–4.10). Diabetic men and women had similar risks of prostate and breast cancer to those of controls (0.83, 0.59–1.14 and 0.86, 0.52–1.36).ConclusionsType 2 diabetes is associated with a moderately increased cancer risk in well-characterised community-based patients, especially pancreatic cancer and colorectal cancer in older men. Recommended cancer screening should be considered as part of routine diabetes management.


  • Magliano, Dianna J
  • Davis, Wendy A
  • Shaw, Jonathan E
  • Bruce, David G
  • Davis, Timothy ME

publication date

  • October 2012