Postoperative mortality in cancer patients with preexisting diabetes: Systematic review and meta-analysis

Bethany B. Barone, Hsin Chieh Yeh, Claire F. Snyder, Kimberly S. Peairs, Kelly B. Stein, Rachel L. Derr, Antonio C. Wolff, Frederick L. Brancati

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

104 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE - Diabetes appears to increase risk for some cancers, but the association between preexisting diabetes and postoperative mortality in cancer patients is less clear. Our objective was to systematically review postoperative mortality in cancer patients with and without preexisting diabetes and summarize results using meta-analysis. RSEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS - We searched the Medical Literature Analysis and Retrieval System Online (MEDLINE) and Excerpta Medica Database (EMBASE) for articles published on or before 1 July 2009, including references of qualifying articles. We included English language investigations of short-term postoperative mortality after initial cancer treatment. Titles, abstracts, and articles were reviewed by at least two independent readers. Study population and design, results, and quality components were abstracted with standard protocols by one reviewer and checked for accuracy by additional reviewers. RESULTS - Of 8,828 titles identified in our original search, 20 articles met inclusion criteria for qualitative systematic review. Of these, 15 reported sufficient information to be combined in meta-analysis. Preexisting diabetes was associated with increased odds of postoperative mortality across all cancer types (OR = 1.85 [95% CI 1.40-2.45]). The risk associated with preexisting diabetes was attenuated but remained significant when we restricted the meta-analysis to models that controlled for confounders (1.51 [1.13-2.02]) or when we accounted for publication bias using the trim and fill method (1.52 [1.13-2.04]). CONCLUSIONS - Compared with their nondiabetic counterparts, cancer patients with preexisting diabetes are ∼50% more likely to die after surgery. Future research should investigate physiologic pathways to mortality risk and determine whether improvements in perioperative diabetes care can reduce postoperative mortality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)931-939
Number of pages9
JournalDiabetes care
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing


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