HealthDay News — Prediabetes is associated with an elevated risk of cancer overall and with increased risks of site-specific cancers, including liver, endometrial, and stomach/colorectal cancer, according to researchers.

In 2003, the American Diabetes Association redefine the range of fasting plasma glucose concentration for diagnosing impaired fasting glucose from 6.1 to 6.9 mmol/l to 5.6 to 6.9 mmol/l in order to better identify patients at risk of developing diabetes. This change has not been adopted by WHO or other international health organizations.

“One of the main arguments against this change is that it greatly increases the number of individuals labeled as having IFG, without any clear association with clinical complications,” explained Yi Huang, of The First People’s Hospital of Shunde in China and colleagues in Diabetologia.

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To examine the risk of cancer in association with impaired fasting glucose and impaired glucose tolerance, the investigators examined 16 prospective cohort studies that included data for 891,426 patients.

Prediabetes was correlated with an increased risk of cancer overall (relative risk, 1.15), with consistent results across cancer ends points, age, duration of follow-up, and ethnicity. Using different definitions of prediabetes did not significantly alter the risk of cancer.

Prediabetes was linked with increased risk of stomach/colorectal, liver, pancreas, breast, and endometrial cancer but not to bronchus/lung, prostate, ovary, kidney, or bladder cancer in a site-specific analysis. Significantly different risks of site-specific cancer were seen, with the highest risk for liver, endometrial, and stomach/colorectal cancer.

“These results reaffirm the importance of screening for prediabetes using the American Diabetes Association criteria, with a view to cancer prevention,” stressed the researchers. “This information is important to health professionals and those engaged in the prevention of cancer.”


  1. Huang Y et al. Diabetologia. 2014; doi: DOI 10.1007/s00125-014-3361-2