Patients with lung, pancreatic, breast, brain, urinary tract, or uterine cancers may be more likely to develop new-onset type 2 diabetes after their cancer diagnosis, according to research findings published in Diabetes Care, and those who went on to develop type 2 diabetes experienced poorer overall health outcomes.

In the largest cohort study to date investigating cancer and diabetes risk, researchers in Denmark looked at data from 51,353 patients without type 2 diabetes who were diagnosed with cancer from 2004–2015. After a median follow-up time of 2.34 years, the researchers found a 9% increased risk of new-onset type 2 diabetes for patients with any type of cancer compared to a cancer-free control sample. The risk increased the most for patients with pancreatic cancer (400%), followed by brain and nervous system cancers (54%) and uterine cancer (41%).

The researchers also investigated whether the development of new-onset type 2 diabetes influenced overall survival using a subset of 28,308 patients who were living two years after their cancer diagnosis. When compared to patients with cancer without type 2 diabetes, researchers found that those with new-onset type 2 diabetes had a 21% higher all-cause mortality.

“The underlying mechanisms still remain to be defined but could include common risk factors, tumor-secreted factors, or effects of treatment,” the researchers concluded. “Our data illustrate the need for increased focus on the development of type 2 diabetes in cancer survivors.”