Diabetic Patients with Colorectal Cancer Do Not Have Higher Cancer-Specific Mortality

Previous research has established a correlation between diabetes and a greater risk of developing colorectal cancer (CRC), but data are unclear on whether patients with diabetes have a greater risk of CRC-specific mortality. A retrospective cohort study concluded that patients with diabetes do not have a higher CRC-specific mortality risk and are not more likely to present with later-stage CRC compared with non-diabetic patients.

Data were collected on patients diagnosed with CRC between 2007 and 2015 and comparisons were made on whether patients were more likely to present with later- (III or IV) or early-stage (I or II) CRC based on diabetes status. Analyses adjusting for CRC stage at diagnosis and other covariates were also performed to establish the correlation between diabetes and all-cause and CRC-specific mortality.

A total of 44,178 patients with CRC were identified, of whom about one-quarter (n=11,822; 26.7%) were had diabetes. No association was observed between having diabetes and presenting with later-stage CRC (adjusted odds ratio [OR], 0.97; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.93-1.01) when adjusting for CRC screening and other covariates. During follow-up (median, 2.63 years; interquartile range, 0.97-5.10 years), diabetic patients had a higher incidence of all-cause mortality (adjusted HR, 1.08; 95% CI, 1.04-1.12), but CRC-specific survival did not largely differ between the groups (adjusted HR, 1.0; 95% CI, 0.95-1.06).

The researchers concluded that diabetic CRC survivors may require greater non-cancer care since their all-cause mortality risk was greater compared with patients without diabetes.