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Diabetes Not Tied to Increased Lung Cancer Risk

on Tuesday, April 12 @ 13:30:23 EDT

While epidemiological studies have shown that the incidence of some cancers is increased in patients with diabetes, the risk of lung cancer apparently is not.

Dr. Gillian C. Hall of Grimsdyke House, Barnet, and colleagues investigated the hypothesis that the rate of lung cancer is elevated in patients with diabetes.

In his comments, Dr. Hall noted that "as the mechanisms involved are not fully understood, and given that diabetes and lung cancer share some risk factors, it is possible that the rate of lung cancer is different in those with diabetes than in the general population."

Furthermore, "as an inhaled formulation of insulin is under development it is important to understand the background risk of lung cancer in diabetic groups."

To investigate further, Dr. Hall and colleagues used a UK general practice database to identify more than 66,000 diabetic patients.

In this group, the incidence of lung cancer was 1.63 per 1000 patient-years overall, and 2.05 per 1000 patient-years in those who had been followed from diagnosis of diabetes.

In comparison with controls, this amounted to a hazard ratio of 0.88 overall and 1.12 in those followed from diagnosis. Nevertheless, adjustment for a lower life expectancy compared to controls, led to a hazard ratio of 0.98 in the general diabetic cohort.

Thus the researchers conclude that there is no increased risk of lung cancer and "the lower incidence may be partly due to shorter life expectancy."

Diabetes Care 2005;28:590-594.

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