Cancer Survival Associated with Diabetes

Published Online: Thursday, December 1, 2005

Although type 2 diabetes is not connected with more aggressive prostate cancer, it does predict poor long-term survival from the disease. A Fox Chase Cancer Center study included 1512 men with localized prostate cancer. As part of their treatment, the participants received 3D conformal radiation therapy between April 1989 and October 2001. Of the participants, 206 had type 2 diabetes that was treated with diet, exercise, or medication other than insulin.

Reporting the findings at the recent annual meeting of the American Society for Therapeutic Radiation and Oncology, the researchers saw no difference in initial prostate-specific antigen (PSA) scores or cancer stage between patients with the disease and nondiabetics. PSA scores 5 years after radiation showed a treatment failure rate of 27.2% in patients without diabetes, compared with 23.8% in patients with the disease. The distant spread of cancer was diagnosed in 7% of the controls, compared with 4.9% of the patients with diabetes.

Despite similar treatment outcomes between the 2 groups, the survival rate was significantly different. The patients without type 2 diabetes had an overall death rate of 19.1%, compared with 22.8% in patients with the disease. The difference was statistically significant even after other pretreatment risk factors had been taken into account.

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