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BACKGROUND: Diabetes is associated with higher risk of colorectal cancer (CRC). Uncertainty remains about the relevance of duration of diabetes and about the association of blood glucose with CRC risk among individuals without diabetes. METHODS: The prospective China Kadoorie Biobank recruited 512 713 participants in 2004-2008 from 10 diverse areas in China. After 10 years of follow-up, 3024 incident cases of CRC (1745 colon, 1716 rectal) were recorded among 510 136 participants without prior cancer at baseline. Cox regression was used to estimate adjusted HRs for CRC associated with diabetes (previously diagnosed or screen-detected) and, among those without previously diagnosed diabetes, with levels of random plasma glucose (RPG). RESULTS: Overall 5.8% of participants had diabetes at baseline. Individuals with diabetes had an adjusted HR of 1.18 (95% CI 1.04 to 1.33) for CRC, with similar risk for colon and rectal cancer (1.19 [1.01 to 1.39] vs 1.14 [0.96 to 1.35]). The HRs decreased with longer duration of diabetes (p for trend 0.03). Among those without previously diagnosed diabetes, RPG was positively associated with CRC, with adjusted HRs per 1 mmol/L higher baseline RPG of 1.04 (1.02 to 1.05) for CRC, again similar for colon and rectal cancer (1.03 [1.01to 1.05] and 1.04 [1.02 to 1.06], respectively). The associations of diabetes and RPG appeared stronger in men than in women, but the differences were non-significant (p for heterogeneity 0.3 and 0.2). DISCUSSION: Among Chinese adults, diabetes and higher blood glucose levels among those without known diabetes are associated with higher risk of CRC.

Original publication




Journal article


J Epidemiol Community Health

Publication Date





919 - 925


Chinese, blood glucose, colorectal cancer, diabetes, Adult, Aged, Blood Glucose, China, Cohort Studies, Colorectal Neoplasms, Diabetes Mellitus, Female, Health Surveys, Humans, Incidence, Male, Middle Aged, Proportional Hazards Models, Prospective Studies