Fasting blood glucose and cancer risk in a cohort of more than 140,000 adults in Austria

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Abstract

Aims/hypothesis

We investigated relations between fasting blood glucose and the incidence of cancer.

Methods

A population-based cohort of more than 140,000 Austrian adults (63,585 men, 77,228 women) was followed over an average of 8.4 years. Incident cancer (other than non-melanoma skin cancers) was ascertained by a population-based cancer registry (n=5,212). Cox proportional-hazards models were used to estimate hazard rate ratios (HR) stratified for age and adjusted for smoking, occupational group and body mass index.

Results

The highest fasting blood glucose category (≥7.0 mmol/l) was weakly associated with all cancers combined (HR 1.20; 95% CI, 1.03-1.39 in men and 1.28; 95% CI, 1.08-1.53 in women) relative to the reference level (4.2-5.2 mmol/l). The strongest association was found for liver cancer in men (HR 4.58; 95% CI, 1.81-11.62). Positive associations between fasting hyperglycaemia (6.1-6.9 or ≥7.0 mmol/l) and cancer incidence were also observed for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in men, and for colorectal and bladder cancer in women. Breast cancer in women diagnosed at or after age 65 was also associated with fasting blood glucose ≥7.0 mmol/l. Positive associations with glucose values >5.3 mmol/l were noted for thyroid cancer, gallbladder/bile duct cancer and multiple myeloma in men and women combined.

Conclusions/interpretation

These findings provide further evidence that elevated blood glucose is associated with the incidence of several types of cancer in men and women.

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