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QJM. 2010 Dec;103(12):905-15. doi: 10.1093/qjmed/hcq149. Epub 2010 Aug 25.

Diabetes and cancer.

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Department of Diabetes and Metabolism, The Royal London Hospital, London E1 1BB, UK.


Diabetes and cancer are common conditions, and their co-diagnosis in the same individual is not infrequent. A link between the two conditions has been postulated for almost 80 years, but only in the past decade has significant epidemiological evidence been amassed to suggest that diabetes and cancer are associated, and the link appears causal. Hyperinsulinaemia, adipocytokines, growth factors and epigenetic changes may be implicated in the pathogenesis of cancer amongst patients with diabetes, and recently, diabetes therapies have also been implicated. There is reasonable circumstantial evidence that metformin may decrease the risk of cancer amongst diabetic patients. Much more research is required to elucidate the link between diabetes and cancer, particularly the potential link with diabetes treatments.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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