Diabetes and Cancer: The Epidemiological and Metabolic Associations

Cissy Zhang, Anne Le

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Diabetes mellitus, commonly known as diabetes, and cancer are two of the most common diseases plaguing the world today. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are currently more than 20 million people with diabetes in the United States [1]. According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), there were around 18 million people diagnosed with cancer, with approximately ten million deaths globally in 2018 [2]. Given the prevalence and deadliness of diabetes and cancer, these two diseases have long been the focus of many researchers with the goal of improving treatment outcomes. While diabetes and cancer may seem to be two very different diseases at first glance, they share several similarities, especially regarding their metabolic characteristics. This chapter discusses the similarities and relationships between the metabolism of diabetes, especially type 2 diabetes (T2D), and cancer, including their abnormal glucose and amino acid metabolism, the contribution of hyperglycemia to oncogenic mutation, and the contribution of hyperinsulinemia to cancer progression. Investigating the metabolic interplay between diabetes and cancer in an effort to exploit this connection for cancer treatment has the potential to significantly improve clinical efficacy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAdvances in Experimental Medicine and Biology
Number of pages11
StatePublished - 2021

Publication series

NameAdvances in Experimental Medicine and Biology
ISSN (Print)0065-2598
ISSN (Electronic)2214-8019


  • Cancer
  • Glucose metabolism
  • Hexosamine biosynthetic pathway
  • Hyperinsulinemia
  • KRAS mutation
  • Metformin
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • mTOR signaling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Diabetes and Cancer: The Epidemiological and Metabolic Associations'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this