Exploring the link between diabetes and pancreatic cancer

Margherita Pizzato, Federica Turati, Valentina Rosato, Carlo La Vecchia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Epidemiological studies indicate an association between type 2 diabetes and pancreatic cancer but the complex and multidirectional relationship between them remains unclear. Areas covered: We summarized epidemiological evidence on diabetes and pancreatic cancer exploring the time–risk relationship. We described mechanisms linking long-standing diabetes to pancreatic cancer. We discussed pancreatic cancer-associated diabetes and its implication in the early detection of pancreatic cancer. Expert opinion: The markedly increased risk of pancreatic cancer in patients with new-onset diabetes compared with long-standing diabetes observed in several epidemiological studies indicates a complex and bidirectional connection, with long-standing diabetes being a predisposing factor for pancreatic cancer (increasing the risk of the malignancy 1.5- to 2-fold) and new-onset diabetes an early manifestation of the tumor. Identifying clinical features and biomarkers to distinguish pancreatic cancer-associated diabetes from type 2 diabetes is an important goal to improve management and survival of this cancer. Imaging (MRI) for middle-age patients with new-onset diabetes may be considered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)681-687
Number of pages7
JournalExpert Review of Anticancer Therapy
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2019


  • Pancreatic cancer
  • review
  • type 2 diabetes
  • type 3c diabetes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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