Prostate Cancer Patients With Unmanaged Diabetes or Receiving Insulin Experience Inferior Outcomes and Toxicities After Treatment With Radiation Therapy

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We evaluated the effect of type 2 diabetes, and medications used in its management, on prostate cancer patients receiving radiation therapy. Men who were receiving insulin and those not receiving any medication had increased risk of death and toxicity than those without diabetes.


The purpose of the study was to determine the effect of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) on outcomes and toxicities among men with localized prostate cancer receiving definitive radiation therapy.

Patients and Methods:

We performed a retrospective review of 3217 patients, from 1998 to 2013, subdivided into 5 subgroups: (I) no T2DM; (II) T2DM receiving oral antihyperglycemic agent that contains metformin, no insulin; (III) T2DM receiving nonmetformin oral agent alone, no insulin; (IV) T2DM receiving any insulin; and (V) T2DM not receiving medication. Outcome measures were overall survival, freedom from biochemical failure (BF), freedom from distant metastasis, cancer-specific survival, and toxicities. Kaplan–Meier analysis, log rank tests, Fine and Gray competing risk regression (to adjust for patient and lifestyle factors), Cox models, and subdistribution hazard ratios (sHRs) were used.


Of the 3217 patients, 1295 (40%) were low-risk, 1192 (37%) were intermediate-risk, and 652 (20%) were high risk. The group I to V distribution was 81%, 8%, 5%, 3%, and 4%. The median dose was 78 Gy, and the median follow-up time was 50 (range, 1-190) months. Group V had increased mortality (sHR, 2.1; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.66-1.54), BF (sHR, 2.14; 0.88-1.83), and cause-specific mortality (sHR, 3.87; 95% CI, 1.31-11). Acute toxicities were higher in group IV versus group I (genitourinary: 38% vs. 26%; P = .01; gastrointestinal: 21% vs. 5%; P = 001). Late toxicities were higher in groups IV and V versus group I (12%-14% vs. 2%-6%; P < .01).


Men with T2DM not receiving medication and men with T2DM receiving insulin had worse outcomes and toxicities compared to other patients.

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