Diabetes Ups Post-Op Mortality Risk in Cancer Patients

Cancer patients with preexisting diabetes about 50 percent more likely to die following surgery
By Eric Metcalf
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, March 29 (HealthDay News) -- Cancer patients with preexisting diabetes have a greater risk of dying after surgery compared to patients without diabetes, according to research published in the April issue of Diabetes Care.

Bethany B. Barone, of the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health in Baltimore, and colleagues performed a systematic review of 20 articles that assessed short-term postoperative mortality following initial cancer treatment, and combined 15 in a meta-analysis. Types of cancer included colon or colorectal, esophageal, lung, liver, pancreatic and prostate.

The researchers found that patients with preexisting diabetes had higher odds of postoperative mortality across all cancer types (odds ratio, 1.85). After restricting their analysis to models controlling for confounders, the risk remained significant (odds ratio, 1.51).

"The main implication of our study is that oncologists, surgeons, and cancer patients should be aware of the excess postoperative mortality risk related to diabetes when considering treatment options. Whether improvements in perioperative diabetes care can reduce this excess risk is uncertain. Future research should investigate physiologic pathways to mortality risk and determine whether improvements in perioperative diabetes care can reduce postoperative mortality," the authors conclude.

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