Diabetes Affects Tumor Thickness & Ulceration in Melanoma Diagnosis

July, 07, 2024 | Melanoma, Skin Cancer


  • The study aimed to evaluate the association between type 2 diabetes and malignant melanoma.
  • Researchers found no link between diabetes & melanoma; they found its link to thicker tumors and ulceration at diagnosis.

In high-income countries, diabetes related cancers, including melanoma are 1 of the most common causes of diabetes-related deaths. More extensive studies are required to establish a clear link between diabetes and site-specific cancers.

Jens Ejrnæs Tønder and the team aimed to assess the association between diabetes, specifically type 2 diabetes, and malignant melanoma through a systematic review and meta-analysis.

Researchers systematically searched up to february 22, 2023, as per the eligibility criteria set up to identify exploratory research instances based on the association between diabetes (including type 2 diabetes) and malignant melanoma outcomes like incidence, stage, and melanoma-specific mortality.

PubMed, the cochrane library, and the Web of Science were the primary databases searched subsequently, the 2 independent reviewers thoroughly evaluated identified articles followed by quality -assessment was performed using the newcastle-ottawa scale, designed for observational studies.

Meta-analyses were subsequently carried out using RevMan 5.4.1, which focused on assessing melanoma risk using adjusted risk estimates and examining the melanoma stage using a dichotomous model. This comprehensive approach aimed to clarify the association between diabetes and malignant melanoma across various dimensions of disease progression and outcome.

The literature search identified 20 studies eligible for inclusion in the systematic review and meta-analysis. Of these, 14 contributed data for analyzing melanoma risk, 3 focused on melanoma thickness and ulceration, and 4 examined melanoma-specific survival outcomes.

The meta-analyses revealed that there was no statistically significant impact of diabetes on the overall risk of developing melanoma (RR: 1.05, 95%CI: 0.99-1.12, P = 0.10). However, the analysis revealed that individuals with type 2 diabetes were more likely to present with more advanced melanoma stages at the time of diagnosis. Specifically, the risk of Breslow thickness greater than 1 mm was significantly higher (RR 1.35, 95%CI: 1.22-1.49, P < 0.001), and there was also an increased risk of ulceration (RR 1.30, 95%CI: 1.00-1.68, P = 0.05).

A meta-analysis examining the association between diabetes and melanoma-specific mortality was not feasible due to the heterogeneity in study designs and outcome reporting among the included studies. Future research focusing on standardized methodologies could provide further insights into this aspect of the relationship between diabetes and melanoma outcomes.

The study concluded that although there was no link between diabetes and melanoma, an association between tumor thickness and the presence of ulceration at the time of diagnosis was established during this study. Further exploration of these facts requires more extensive research in this area.

Authors did not receive any grants or funding for this study.


Tønder JE, Bønnelykke-Behrndtz ML, Laurberg T, et al. (2024). “Melanoma risk, tumour stage, and melanoma-specific mortality in individuals with diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis.” BMC Cancer. 2024 Jul 7;24(1):812. doi: 10.1186/s12885-024-12598-8. PMID: 38972968; PMCID: PMC11229239.

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