There is no doubt that patients with diabetes experience certain cancers at higher than expected rates. But why this occurs still remains a question. The findings reviewed here only serve to underscore the difficulty of elucidating specific mechanisms in the complex relationship between diabetes and cancer. The postulated mechanisms include direct action through pathophysiologic changes in T2DM, shared risk factors, and unintended long-term effects of antihyperglycemic therapies.1,39 What drives the association remains unclear, and has attracted increasing interest as rates of T2DM continue to rise in the United States and elsewhere.1,8

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1. Giovannucci E, Harlan DM, Archer MC, et al. Diabetes and cancer: a consensus report. Diabetes Care. 2010;33:1674-1685.

2. La Vecchia C, Negri E, Franceschi S, et al. A case-control study of diabetes mellitus and cancer risk. Br J Cancer. 1994;70(5):950-953.

3. Magliano DJ, Davis WA, Shaw JE, et al. Incidence and predictors of all-cause and site-specific cancer in type 2 diabetes: the Fremantle Diabetes Study. Eur J Endocrinol. 2012;167(4):589-599.

4. Adami HO, McLaughlin J, Ekbom A, et al. Cancer risk in patients with diabetes mellitus. Cancer Causes Control. 1991;2(5):307-314.

5. American Cancer Society. Cancer Facts & Figures 2012. Atlanta: American Cancer Society; 2012.

6. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Diabetes Fact Sheet: national estimates and general information on diabetes and prediabetes in the United States, 2011. Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2011.

7. Boyle P, Boniol M, Koechlin A, et al. Diabetes and breast cancer risk: a meta-analysis. Br J Cancer. 2012;107(9):1608-1617.

8. Shikata K, Ninomiya T, Kiyohara Y. Diabetes mellitus and cancer risk: review of the epidemiological evidence. Cancer Sci. 2013;104(1):9-14.