Patients with diabetes demonstrated an increased risk for head and neck cancers, particularly malignancies of the oral cavity, oropharynx and nasopharynx, according to a new study.

Researchers used Taiwan’s Longitudinal Health Insurance Research Database to identify some 89,000 patients newly diagnosed with diabetes. The analysis also included a cohort of individuals without diabetes matched for sex, age and comorbidities, including obesity, coronary artery disease, hyperlipidemia and hypertension.

Overall, patients with diabetes demonstrated a 1.47-fold increased risk for developing a head and neck cancer compared with those in the control population. The greatest risks were for development of oral cavity cancer, oropharyngeal cancer and nasopharyngeal carcinoma.

Among individuals aged 40 to 65 years, head and neck cancers occurred significantly more frequently in those with diabetes than those without diabetes (incidence rate ratio [IRR]=1.57; 95% CI, 1.36-1.82). Men with diabetes also demonstrated a significantly greater risk for head and neck cancers than men without diabetes (IRR=1.48; 95% CI, 1.31-1.69).

But researchers noted comorbidities had no statistically significant effect on the difference in incidence of head and neck cancers between the two cohorts.

OS among all patients with head and neck cancers was comparable, regardless of whether they had diabetes. But among individuals without head and neck cancers, those without diabetes demonstrated significantly longer OS than those who had diabetes.