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Weight Loss Precedes Cancer-Specific Symptoms in Pancreatic Cancer-Associated Diabetes Mellitus

Hart, Phil A. MD*; Kamada, Pratima MBBS; Rabe, Kari G. MS; Srinivasan, Sunil MBBS, MD§; Basu, Ananda MBBS, MD; Aggarwal, Gaurav MBBS; Chari, Suresh T. MD

doi: 10.1097/MPA.0b013e318220816a
Original Articles

Objectives: New-onset diabetes mellitus (DM) may herald pancreatic cancer (PaC). We determined whether changes in body weight distinguished PaC-associated DM (PaCDM) from type 2 DM.

Methods: Among Olmsted County residents, we identified 29 PaCDM and 43 type 2 DM subjects who had serial fasting blood glucose measurements, new-onset DM, and no cancer-specific symptoms at DM onset. We compared body weight (kg) and fasting blood glucose (mg/dL) at DM onset, 1 to 2 years before and at index date in the 2 groups.

Results: Fasting blood glucose values were similar before and at the onset of DM. Before onset of DM, PaCDM and type 2 DM subjects had similar body weight (P = 0.80). However, at onset of DM, 59% of PaCDM subjects lost weight versus 30% of type 2 DM subjects (P = 0.02). At onset of DM, 56% of type 2 DM subjects gained weight versus 31% of PaCDM subjects (P = 0.04). By index date, PaCDM subjects lost more weight than type 2 DM subjects did (8.3 ± 8.3 vs 0.8 ± 4.8 kg, P < 0.01).

Conclusions: Although new-onset primary type 2 DM is typically associated with weight gain, weight loss frequently precedes onset of PaCDM. The paradoxical development of diabetes in the face of ongoing weight loss may be an important clue to understanding the pathogenesis of PaCDM.

Abbreviations: BMI - body mass index, DM - diabetes mellitus, EUS - endoscopic ultrasound, FBG - fasting blood glucose, PaC - pancreatic cancer, PaCDM - new-onset diabetes mellitus associated with pancreatic cancer

From the *Department of Internal Medicine, †Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, ‡Health Sciences Research, Mayo Clinic Rochester, MN; §Chandler High School, AZ; and ∥Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Nutrition, Mayo Clinic Rochester, MN.

Received for publication June 11, 2010; accepted December 13, 2010.

Reprints: Suresh T. Chari, MD, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Mayo Clinic, 200 First St SW, Rochester, MN 55905 (e-mail:

Dr Chari's research was funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health (R01 CA 100685) and the Mayo Clinic Pancreas Cancer SPORE (P50 CA 102701).

No conflicts of interest exist.

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.