, Volume 51, Issue 10, pp 1757-1760

First online:

A genetic link between type 2 diabetes and prostate cancer

  • T. M. FraylingAffiliated withGenetics of Complex Traits, Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Exeter Email author 
  • , H. ColhounAffiliated withUniversity of Dundee
  • , J. C. FlorezAffiliated withDiabetes Unit and Center for Human Genetic Research, Massachusetts General Hospital


Epidemiological studies suggest that men with type 2 diabetes are less likely than non-diabetic men to develop prostate cancer. The cause of this association is not known. Recent genetic studies have highlighted a potential genetic link between the two diseases. Two studies have identified a version (allele) of a variant in the HNF1B (also known as TCF2) gene that predisposes to type 2 diabetes, and one of them showed that the same allele protects men from prostate cancer. Other, separate, studies have identified different variants in the JAZF1 gene, one associated with type 2 diabetes, another associated with prostate cancer. These findings are unlikely to completely explain the epidemiological association between the two diseases but they provide new insight into a possible direct causal link, rather than one that is confounded or biased in some way.


Epidemiology Genes Genome-wide association study Pleiotropy Prostate cancer Transcription factors Type 2 diabetes