New-Onset Diabetes, Longitudinal Trends in Metabolic Markers, and Risk of Pancreatic Cancer in a Heterogeneous Population

Brian Z. Huang, Stephen J. Pandol, Christie Y. Jeon, Suresh T. Chari, Catherine A. Sugar, Chun R. Chao, Zuo Feng Zhang, Bechien U. Wu, Veronica Wendy Setiawan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Background & Aims: Observational studies of predominantly white populations have found new-onset diabetes to be associated with increased risk of pancreatic cancer. We sought to determine whether this relationship applies to other races or ethnicities and to identify metabolic profiles associated with increased risk of pancreatic cancer. Methods: We conducted a population-based cohort study of Asian, black, Hispanic and white patients from Kaiser Permanente Southern California from 2006 through 2016 (n = 1,499,627). Patients with diabetes were identified based on glucose and hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) measurements. We used Cox regression to assess the relationship between diabetes status and duration and pancreatic cancer. For patients with recent diagnoses of diabetes (1 year or less) we compared longitudinal changes in glucose, HbA1c, and weight, from time of diabetes diagnosis through 3 years prior to the diagnosis, in patients with vs without pancreatic cancer. Results: We identified 2,002 incident cases of pancreatic cancer from nearly 7.5 million person-years of follow-up. Compared to patients without diabetes, individuals who received a recent diagnosis of diabetes had an almost 7-fold increase in risk of pancreatic cancer (relative risk, 6.91; 95% CI, 5.76–8.30). Among patients with a recent diagnosis of diabetes, those who developed pancreatic cancer had more rapid increases in levels of glucose (Δslope: cases, 37.47 mg/dL vs non-cases, 27.68 mg/dL) and HbA1c (Δslope: cases, 1.39% vs non-cases, 0.86%) in the month preceding the diagnosis of diabetes, and subtle weight loss in the prior years (slope: cases –0.18 kg/interval vs non-cases 0.33 kg/interval). These longitudinal changes in markers of metabolism were stronger for specific race and ethnic groups. Conclusions: In a study of a large ethnically diverse population, we found risk of pancreatic cancer to be increased among patients with a diagnosis of diabetes in the past year among different races and ethnicities. Weight loss and rapid development of poor glycemic control were associated with increased risk of pancreatic cancer in multiple races.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1812-1821.e7
JournalClinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Jul 2020


  • Obesity
  • Pancreas
  • Racial Variation
  • Type 2 Diabetes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology


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