What is the risk of diabetes mellitus (DM) in the etiology of pancreatic cancer?

Updated: Mar 07, 2019
  • Author: Tomislav Dragovich, MD, PhD; Chief Editor: N Joseph Espat, MD, MS, FACS  more...
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Answer

Numerous studies have examined the relative risk of pancreatic cancer in persons with diabetes mellitus. A systematic review of 30 studies concluded that patients with diabetes mellitus of at least 5-years' duration have a 2-fold increased risk of developing pancreatic carcinoma. Pancreatic cancer may follow 18-36 months after a diagnosis of diabetes mellitus in elderly patients with no family history of diabetes mellitus.

The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN)  acknowledges long-standing diabetes mellitus as a risk factor for pancreatic cancer. The NCCN also notes an association between sudden onset of type II diabetes mellitus in an adult older than 50 years and a new diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, although in those cases the diabetes is thought to be caused by the cancer. [2]


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