Colon cancer modulation by a diabetic environment: A single institutional experienceReport as inadecuate

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Multiple observational studies suggest an increased risk of colon cancer in patients with diabetes mellitus DM. This can theoretically be the result of an influence of the diabetic environment on carcinogenesis or the tumor biologic behavior.


To gain insight into the influence of a diabetic environment on colon cancer characteristics and outcomes.

Material and methods

Retrospective analysis of clinical records in an academic tertiary care hospital with detailed analysis of 81 diabetic patients diagnosed of colon cancer matched with 79 non-diabetic colon cancer patients. The impact of streptozotocin-induced diabetes on the growth of colon cancer xenografts was studied in mice.


The incidence of DM in 1,137 patients with colorectal cancer was 16%. The diabetic colon cancer cases and non-diabetic colon cancer controls were well matched for demographic and clinical variables. The ECOG Scale Performance Status was higher worse in diabetics ECOG ≥1, 29.1% of controls vs 46.9% of diabetics, p = 0.02, but no significant differences were observed in tumor grade, adjuvant therapy, tumor site, lymphovascular invasion, stage, recurrence, death or cancer-related death. Moreover, no differences in tumor variables were observed between patients treated or not with metformin. In the xenograft model, tumor growth and histopathological characteristics did not differ between diabetic and nondiabetic animals.


Our findings point towards a mild or negligible effect of the diabetes environment on colon cancer behavior, once cancer has already developed.

Author: Isabel Prieto , Laura del Puerto-Nevado , Nieves Gonzalez, Sergio Portal-Nuñez, Sandra Zazo, Marta Corton, Pablo Minguez, Carmen



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