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Exp Diabetes Res. 2012;2012:413782. doi: 10.1155/2012/413782. Epub 2012 Jun 5.

The influence of type 2 diabetes and glucose-lowering therapies on cancer risk in the Taiwanese.

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Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Department of Internal Medicine, Changhua Christian Hospital, Changhua, Taiwan.



To investigate the association between type 2 diabetes, glucose-lowering therapies (monotherapy with either metformin, sulphonylurea or insulin) and cancer risk in Taiwan.


Using Taiwan's National Health Research Institutes database of 1,000,000 random subjects from 2000-2008, we found 61777 patients with type 2 diabetes (age ≥20 years) and 677378 enrollees with no record of diabetes.


After adjusting for age and sex, we found patients with diabetes to have significantly higher risk of all cancers (OR: 1.176; 95% CI: 1.149-1.204, P < 0.001). Diabetic patients treated with insulin or sulfonylureas had significantly higher risk of all cancers, compared to those treated with metformin (OR: 1.583; 95% CI: 1.389-1.805, P < 0.001 and OR: 1.784; 95% CI: 1.406-2.262, P < 0.001). Metformin treatment was associated with a decreased risk of colon and liver cancer compared to sulphonylureas or insulin treatment. Sulfonylureas treatment was associated with an increased risk of breast and lung cancer compared to metformin therapy.


Taiwanese with type 2 diabetes are at a high risk of breast, prostate, colon, lung, liver and pancreatic cancer. Those treated with insulin or sulfonylureas monotherapy are more likely to develop colon and liver cancer than those treated with metformin.

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