Pancreatic Cancer Linked to Diabetes
in Large Review of International Research
Researchers suggest new diabetics
should be tested for pancreatic cancer
March 14, 2014 - Researchers,
combing through massive data included in 88 international studies, have
claimed the discovery of a link between pancreatic cancer and diabetes.
And, they suggest it may be important to consider screening all newly
diagnosed diabetics for pancreatic cancer.
In a new study published today in
Annals of Surgical Oncology, clinicians worked with
mathematicians to review data from 1973 to 2013 to conclude there was a
time-dependent link between being diagnosed with diabetes and pancreatic
The review by researchers at the
University of Melbourne is the largest analysis on the topic that has
Dr Mehrdad Nikfarjam, liver,
pancreas and biliary specialist from the Department of Surgery at the
University of Melbourne said pancreatic cancer was often diagnosed when
at an advanced, incurable stage.
This is an important paper that
highlights for doctors and in patients with newly diagnosed diabetes
without an obvious cause, a diagnosis of underlying pancreatic cancer
should be considered, he said.
The study revealed the risk of
pancreatic cancer was greatest after the diagnosis of diabetes but
remained elevated long after the diagnosis. The presence of diabetes
remains a modest risk factor for the development of a cancer later in
While the numbers of pancreatic
cancer in the population are relatively low, the study suggests a
screening program should be considered.
The priority on screening should
be on patients with new-onset diabetes but can later be expanded to
long-standing diabetic patients, said Dr Nikfarjam.
New onset diabetes is more
prevalent in people over the age of 55. It may be important to consider
screening all newly diagnosed diabetics for pancreatic cancer,
particularly those without significant risk factors for developing
diabetes in the first place.