Assessing the association of diabetes with lung cancer risk

Amanda Leiter, Antonios Charokopos, Stacyann Bailey, Emily J. Gallagher, Fred R. Hirsch, Derek LeRoith, Juan P. Wisnivesky

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2 Scopus citations


Background: Diabetes is a well-established risk factor for many cancers, but its relationship with lung cancer incidence remains unclear. In this study, we aimed to assess if diabetes is independently associated with lung cancer risk and histology subtype among participants in a screening study. Methods: In a retrospective cohort study using data from the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian (PLCO) study, we assessed the association of self-reported diabetes with lung cancer incidence using Poisson regression while adjusting for other established risk factors in the PLCOM2012, a validated lung cancer prediction model. The adjusted association of diabetes and lung cancer cell type was evaluated using nominal regression. Stratified analyses were also conducted according to sex, smoking history, and body mass index categories. Results: Overall, 140,395 participants were included in our analysis. Diabetes was not significantly associated with lung cancer incidence [incidence rate ratio (IRR): 1.03, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.91-1.17]. Similarly, stratified analyses also did not show significant associations between diabetes and lung cancer risk (all P values >0.05). We found no significant difference in the distribution of lung cancer histology in participants with vs. without diabetes (P=0.30). Conclusions: Diabetes was not an independent risk factor for lung cancer in a large cohort of PLCO participants. We did not observe differences in histology according to diabetes status. These results suggest that patients with diabetes do not need more aggressive lung cancer screening. Future research including more detailed metabolic parameters may further elucidate the relationship between metabolic disease and lung cancer risk.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4200-4208
Number of pages9
JournalTranslational Lung Cancer Research
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2021


  • Early detection of cancer
  • Lung cancer incidence
  • Lung cancer screening
  • Lung neoplasms
  • Metabolic disease and cancer


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