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Association between diabetes and haematological malignancies: a population-based study

Gong IY, Cheung MC, Read S, Na Y, Lega IC, Lipscombe LL. Diabetologia. 2021; 64(3):540-51. Epub 2021 Jan 6. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00125-020-05338-7


Aims/Hypothesis — Contemporary data for the association of diabetes with haematological malignancies are lacking. We evaluated the risk of developing haematological malignancies and subsequent mortality in individuals with diabetes compared with those without diabetes.

Methods — We conducted a population-based observational study using healthcare databases from Ontario, Canada. All Ontario residents 30 years of age or older free of cancer and diabetes between 1 January 1996 and 31 December 2015 were eligible for inclusion. Using Cox regression analyses, we explored the association between diabetes and the risk and mortality of haematological malignancies (leukaemia, lymphoma, multiple myeloma). The impact of timing on associations was evaluated with analyses stratified by time since diabetes diagnosis (<3 months, 3 months to 1 year, ≥1 year).

Results — We identified 1,003,276 individuals with diabetes and age and sex matched these to 2,006,552 individuals without diabetes. Compared with individuals without diabetes, those with diabetes had a modest but significantly higher risk of a haematological malignancy (adjusted HR 1.10 [95% CI 1.08, 1.12] p < 0.0001). This association persisted across all time periods since diabetes diagnosis. Among those with haematological malignancies, diabetes was associated with a higher all-cause mortality (HR 1.36 [95% CI 1.31, 1.41] p < 0.0001) compared with no diabetes, as well as cause-specific mortality.

Conclusions/Interpretation — Diabetes is associated with a higher risk of haematological malignancies and is an independent risk factor of all-cause and cause-specific mortality. Greater efforts for lifestyle modification may not only reduce diabetes burden and its complications but may also potentially lower risk of malignancy and mortality.

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