Type 2 diabetes increases risk of blood cancers
Type 2 diabetes increases the risk of developing blood cancers by more than 20 percent, according to the journal Blood.
Researchers from The Miriam Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island analyzed data from 26 studies that evaluated an association between diabetes and the blood cancers lymphoma, leukemia and myeloma. It included more than 17,000 cases of type 2 diabetes and blood cancer worldwide.
They found that people with type 2 diabetes had a 22 percent increased risk of developing non-Hodgkin lymphoma, leukemia and myeloma compared to people without type 2 diabetes.
There was also an increased risk of a subtype of non-Hodgkin lymphoma called peripheral T-cell lymphoma.
Researchers found no associated risk for developing Hodgkin lymphoma.
Unexpected association with blood cancers
“I think when most people think about diabetes-related illnesses, they think of heart disease or kidney failure, but not necessarily cancer,” said lead author Jorge Castillo, MD, hematologist/oncologist in an article by The Miriam Hospital, a major teaching affiliate of Brown University’s Alpert Medical School.
He continued, “But when you consider that more than 19 million Americans have been diagnosed with diabetes--not to mention the millions more who are either undiagnosed or will be diagnosed in the future--a 20 percent increased risk of blood cancer is quite significant.”
The statistics suggest that type 2 diabetes could be associated with approximately five percent of all incidents of leukemia, myeloma, and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Other possible risk factors
The study did not identify a cause for any of these associations.
Researchers say that further studies should evaluate the effect of other factors on the development of blood cancers. Obesity, dietary habits, physical activity, and/or antidiabetic therapy are potential risk factors not evaluated in this study.
“It’s important to remember that type 2 diabetes can, to some degree, be prevented and controlled through lifestyle modification, such as diet and exercise,” said Castillo. “So by preventing the onset of type 2 diabetes, we could also prevent blood cancer.”
The odds of developing lymphoma, leukemia and myeloma differ depending on the geographic region, according to The Miriam Hospital. The rates of non-Hodgkin lymphoma were higher in Asia and Europe, while the odds for developing leukemia are higher in the US and Asia.
Sources: Blood, The Miriam Hospital