(HealthDay News) — The risk for colorectal cancer is moderately increased in patients with type 2 diabetes, according to research published in Diabetes Care.

Paul J.H.L. Peeters, of the Utrecht University in the Netherlands, and colleagues conducted an observational population-based cohort study in which 300,039 patients, aged 18 years or older, with at least one prescription for an antidiabetic drug, were matched with a comparison cohort of individuals without diabetes. The risk for colorectal cancer associated with type 2 diabetes was assessed.

The researchers found, at a median follow-up of 4.5 years, 2,759 cases of colorectal cancer in patients with diabetes. Type 2 diabetes was associated with increased risk for colorectal cancer (HR=1.26; 95% CI, 1.18-1.33). 

No association was found between risk for colorectal cancer and treatment stages for diabetes. Risk for colorectal cancer was significantly higher in patients with documented duration of obesity of 4 to 8 years (HR=1.19; 95% CI, 1.06-1.34) and longer than 8 years (HR=1.28; 95% CI, 1.11-1.49).

“In summary, we observed a moderate, yet (1.3-fold) significantly increased, risk of colorectal cancer in patients treated for type 2 diabetes,” the researchers wrote.

One author conducts research coordinated by an institution that receives funding partly from pharmaceutical companies.


  1. Peeters PJHL et al. Diabetes Care. 2014;doi:10.2337/dc14-1175.