Background: Although diabetes mellitus is a risk factor for cancer, the relationship of an
increased glucose concentration at a non-diabetic glucose level with cancer mortality is yet to be determined.
Objective: The aim was to observe whether an increased glucose concentration and/or glucose intolerance
at the non-diabetic glucose level can predict cancer mortality.
Methods: Population-based prospective cohort studies evaluating cancer mortality at the non-diabetic
level (defined as fasting plasma glucose <7.0 mmol/L and two-hour plasma glucose <11.1mmol/L following
an oral glucose tolerance test) were collected via a PubMed search with an additional Google
scholar search between 1 January 1966 and 31 July 2016.
Results: We identified seven studies, which met the defined criteria. Studies examining fasting/casual
states indicated an increase in cancer mortality with a slight increase in fasting/casual glucose levels in
men in particular. Not all, but some studies using a glucose tolerance test indicated an increase in cancer
mortality with impaired glucose tolerance/prediabetes. Concerning cause-cancer mortality, glucose
intolerance states appeared to have an increase in mortality, particularly due to the stomach, liver and
Conclusion: In these studies reviewed, cancer mortality increased in individuals with an increased
glucose concentration and an increased potential was seen in those patients with glucose intolerance
even at non-diabetic glucose levels. The outcome of these findings is promising and forms the basis for
further studies to directly address the relevance of increased (non-diabetic) glucose and glucose intolerance
as a prognostic indicator of cancer mortality.