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BioMed Research International
Volume 2015, Article ID 390863, 11 pages
Review Article

Diabetes and Its Link with Cancer: Providing the Fuel and Spark to Launch an Aggressive Growth Regime

Department of Pharmacology, School of Medical Sciences, UNSW Australia, Kensington, NSW 2052, Australia

Received 20 June 2014; Accepted 27 September 2014

Academic Editor: Anandwardhan Hardikar

Copyright © Sanket Joshi et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Diabetes is a disease involving metabolic derangements in multiple organs. While the spectrum of diabetic complications has been known for years, recent evidence suggests that diabetes could also contribute to the initiation and propagation of certain cancers. The mechanism(s) underlying this relationship are not completely resolved but likely involve changes in hormone and nutrient levels, as well as activation of inflammatory and stress-related pathways. Interestingly, some of the drugs used clinically to treat diabetes also appear to have antitumour effects, further highlighting the interaction between these two conditions. In this contribution we review recent literature on this emerging relationship and explore the potential mechanisms that may promote cancer in diabetic patients.