Diabetes and breast cancer risk: A meta-analysis

P. Boyle, M. Boniol, A. Koechlin, C. Robertson, F. Valentini, K. Coppens, L. L. Fairley, M. Boniol, T. Zheng, Y. Zhang, M. Pasterk, M. Smans, M. P. Curado, P. Mullie, S. Gandini, M. Bota, G. B. Bolli, J. Rosenstock, P. Autier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The potential of an increased risk of breast cancer in women with diabetes has been the subject of a great deal of recent research. Methods: A meta-analysis was undertaken using a random effects model to investigate the association between diabetes and breast cancer risk. Results: Thirty-nine independent risk estimates were available from observational epidemiological studies. The summary relative risk (SRR) for breast cancer in women with diabetes was 1.27 (95% confidence interval (CI), 1.161.39) with no evidence of publication bias. Prospective studies showed a lower risk (SRR 1.23 (95% CI, 1.121.35)) than retrospective studies (SRR 1.36 (95% CI, 1.131.63)). Type 1 diabetes, or diabetes in pre-menopausal women, were not associated with risk of breast cancer (SRR 1.00 (95% CI, 0.741.35) and SRR 0.86 (95% CI, 0.661.12), respectively). Studies adjusting for body mass index (BMI) showed lower estimates (SRR 1.16 (95% CI, 1.081.24)) as compared with those studies that were not adjusted for BMI (SRR 1.33 (95% CI, 1.181.51)). Conclusion: The risk of breast cancer in women with type 2 diabetes is increased by 27%, a figure that decreased to 16% after adjustment for BMI. No increased risk was seen for women at pre-menopausal ages or with type 1 diabetes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1608-1617
Number of pages10
JournalBritish Journal of Cancer
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Oct 23 2012


  • body mass index
  • breast cancer
  • diabetes
  • meta-analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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