Prevalence of Diabetes Mellitus in Pancreatic Cancer Compared to Common Cancers

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In pancreatic cancer (PaC), the prevalence of diabetes mellitus (DM), especially new-onset DM (≤36 months of PaC diagnosis), is high. To determine if this observation is unique to PaC, we compared the prevalence and characteristics of DM in lung, breast, prostate, and colorectal cancers with PaC and noncancer controls.


We retrospectively reviewed the medical records of 500 consecutive patients with cancer (100 each with lung, breast, prostate, and colorectal cancers and PaC) and 100 noncancer controls.


Patients with PaC (mean age ± SD, 71.6 ± 9.4 years; 53% men) had a significantly (P < 0.0001) higher prevalence of DM (68%) compared to age-matched patients with lung (mean age ± SD, 71.6 ± 9.4 years; 59% men; and 19.6% DM), breast (mean age ± SD, 71.6 ± 9.6 years; 100% women; and 19.4% DM), prostate (mean age ± SD, 71.3 ± 9.4 years; 100% men; and 14.8% DM), and colorectal cancer (mean age ± SD, 71.6 ± 9.5 years; 56% men; and 20.7% DM), and noncancer controls (mean age ± SD, 70.7 ± 9.2 years; 57% men; and 23.5% DM). Among the patients with PaC, 40% developed DM in the 36 months preceding the diagnosis of PaC compared with 3.3% to 5.7% in the other groups (P < 0.0001).


Whereas the prevalence of DM in PaC is very high, DM prevalence in other common cancers is no different from that in noncancer controls. In particular, new-onset DM is a phenomenon that is unique to PaC.

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