High Blood Glucose Levels Associated With Cancer

Prediabetic patients may face higher risk for liver and stomach cancers

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD Beth Bolt, RPh

(RxWiki News) Having too much sugar in your blood, even if you are not diabetic, is considered unhealthy. And there may be an association between having high blood sugar levels and developing a serious health condition.

Past research has suggested a possible link between prediabetes and cancer. The authors of a recent study wanted to see whether this was true.

Being prediabetic may increase patients' cancer risk, the authors found.

"Talk to a dietitian about ways to improve your diet."

"These findings have important clinical and public health implications", wrote the authors, who were led by Dr. Yuli Huang, of the First People’s Hospital of Shunde in China.

"Considering the high prevalence of prediabetes, as well as the robust and significant association between prediabetes and cancer demonstrated in our study, successful intervention in this large population could have a major public health impact" they wrote.

Prediabetes means that a patient's blood sugar is higher than normal but not high enough to qualify as type 2 diabetes, in which the body does not properly process insulin. Insulin is a hormone that regulates blood sugar.

The study authors looked at 16 past studies that included 891,426 people total. All of the patients were tested for prediabetes at the start of the study and followed to see if they developed cancer.

People who were prediabetic had a 15 percent higher risk for cancer than those who were not, the authors found. The cancers most associated with prediabetes were liver, stomach/colorectal and uterine (endometrial) cancers.

Some studies diagnosed prediabetes using different blood sugar levels, the study authors noted.

The authors noted several ways being prediabetic could make patients more likely to get cancer. These could range from genetic factors to the increase in insulin production allowing cancer cells to grow and divide.

The study authors urged people to be tested and wrote that those with prediabetes should learn ways to reduce their blood sugar and their risk for cancer.

This study was published Sept. 8 in Diabetologia.

Several Chinese research funds supported the research. The authors disclosed no conflicts of interest.

Review Date: 
September 8, 2014
Last Updated:
September 9, 2014