July 24, 2014
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Diabetes increased risk for head, neck cancers

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Patients with diabetes demonstrated an increased risk for head and neck cancers, particularly malignancies of the oral cavity, oropharynx and nasopharynx, according to results of a retrospective cohort study.

Researchers used Taiwan’s Longitudinal Health Insurance Research Database to identify 89,089 patients newly diagnosed with diabetes. The analysis also included a cohort of individuals without diabetes matched for sex, age and comorbidities, including obesity, coronary artery disease, hyperlipidemia and hypertension.

Overall, patients with diabetes demonstrated a 1.47-fold increased risk for developing a head and neck cancer compared with those in the control population (adjusted HR=1.48; 95% CI, 1.31-1.67). The greatest risks were for development of oral cavity cancer (adjusted HR=1.74; 95% CI, 1.47-2.06), oropharyngeal cancer (adjusted HR=1.53; 95% CI, 1.01-2.31) and nasopharyngeal carcinoma (adjusted HR=1.4; 95% CI, 1.03-1.89).

Among individuals aged 40 to 65 years, head and neck cancers occurred significantly more frequently in those with diabetes than those without diabetes (incidence rate ratio [IRR]=1.57; 95% CI, 1.36-1.82). Men with diabetes also demonstrated a significantly greater risk for head and neck cancers than men without diabetes (IRR=1.48; 95% CI, 1.31-1.69).

However, researchers noted comorbidities had no statistically significant effect on the difference in incidence of head and neck cancers between the two cohorts (hypertension, P=.59; hyperlipidemia, P=.80; coronary artery disease, P=.46; chronic kidney disease, P=.85; and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, P=.45).

OS among all patients with head and neck cancers was comparable, regardless of whether they had diabetes (P=.22). However, among individuals without head and neck cancers, those without diabetes demonstrated significantly longer OS than those who had diabetes (P˂.001).

Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.