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Diabet Med. 2017 Jul;34(7):925-933. doi: 10.1111/dme.13297. Epub 2016 Dec 29.

Associations between benign cutaneous nevi and risk of Type 2 diabetes mellitus in men and women: results from two prospective cohort studies.

Dai H1,2,3, Sun Q4,5, Zhang C6, Zhang X2, Li WQ7,8, Manson JE9,10, Hu FB4,5,9, Song Y2.

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Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, National Clinical Research Center for Cancer, Key Laboratory of Cancer Prevention and Therapy of Tianjin, Tianjin Medical University Cancer Institute and Hospital, Tianjin, China.
Department of Epidemiology, Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health, Indiana University, Indianapolis, IN.
Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center, Indiana University, Indianapolis, IN.
Department of Nutrition, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA.
Channing Division of Network Medicine, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA.
Epidemiology Branch, Division of Intramural Population Health Research, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health, MD.
Department of Dermatology, Warren Alpert Medical School, Brown University, Providence, RI.
Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, Brown University, Providence, RI.
Department of Epidemiology, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA.
Division of Preventive Medicine, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.



To examine the association of cutaneous nevi with Type 2 diabetes risk.


We prospectivly examined the associations between nevus count and risk of Type 2 diabetes among 26 240 men (1988-2010) from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study and 67 050 women (1986-2010) from the Nurses' Health Study. Information on the numbers of cutaneous nevi on arms at baseline and incident cases of Type 2 diabetes was collected using validated questionnaires.


During 1 879 287 person-years of follow-up, we documented 9040 incident cases of Type 2 diabetes. After adjustment for age, BMI and other diabetes risk factors, greater number of nevi was associated with higher risk of Type 2 diabetes. Multivariable-adjusted hazard ratios for <1, 1-5, 6-14 and ≥15 nevi were 1.00 (reference), 1.02 (95% CI 0.93, 1.13), 1.08 (95% CI 0.88, 1.34) and 1.57 (95% CI 1.15, 2.15), respectively, for men (P for linear trend = 0.01), and 1.00 (reference), 1.07 (95% CI 1.02, 1.13), 0.98 (95% CI 0.87, 1.10), and 1.25 (1.01, 1.54), respectively, for women (P for linear trend = 0.05). This positive association remained consistent across subgroups stratified by age, BMI, multivitamin use, smoking status, alcohol, physical activity, history of hypercholesterolaemia, family history of diabetes, history of hypertension and menopausal status (in women).


Cutaneous nevus count may represent a novel marker for development of Type 2 diabetes, suggesting a possible unique melanocytic nevus-related mechanism in the pathogenesis of Type 2 diabetes. Further studies are warranted to confirm the findings and to investigate the underlying mechanisms.

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