The association between diabetes and hepatitis C: A systematic review of epidemiological evidence

Ashwini Mhatre, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Background. Several studies have proposed a link between type 2 Diabetes mellitus (DM2) and Hepatitis C infection (HCV) with conflicting results. Since DM2 and HCV have high prevalence, establishing a link between the two may guide further studies aimed at DM2 prevention. A systematic review was conducted to estimate the magnitude and direction of association between DM2 and HCV. Temporality was assessed from cohort studies and case-control studies where such information was available. Methods. MEDLINE searches were conducted for studies that provided risk estimates and fulfill criteria regarding the definition of exposure (HCV) and outcomes (DM2). HCV was defined in terms of method of diagnosis, laboratory technique and method of data collection; DM2 was defined in terms of the classification [World Health Organization (WHO) and American Diabetes Association (ADA)] 1-3 used for diagnosis, laboratory technique and method of data collection. Standardized searches and data abstraction for construction of tables was performed. Unadjusted or adjusted measures of association for individual studies were obtained or calculated from the full text of the studies. Template designed by Dr. David Ramsey. Results. Forty-six studies out of one hundred and nine potentially eligible articles finally met the inclusion and exclusion criteria and were classified separately based on the study design as cross-sectional (twenty four), case-control (fifteen) or cohort studies (seven). The cohort studies showed a three-fold high (confidence interval 1.66–6.29) occurrence of DM2 in individuals with HCV compared to those who were unexposed to HCV and cross sectional studies had a summary odds ratio of 2.53 (1.96, 3.25). In case control studies, the summary odds ratio for studies done in subjects with DM2 was 3.61 (1.93, 6.74); in HCV, it was 2.30 (1.56, 3.38); and all fifteen studies, together, yielded an odds ratio of 2.60 (1.82, 3.73). Conclusion. The above results support the hypothesis that there is an association between DM and HCV. The temporal relationship evident from cohort studies and proposed pathogenic mechanisms also suggest that HCV predisposes patients to development of DM2. Further cohort or prospective studies are needed, however, to determine whether treatment of HCV infections prevents development of DM2.

Subject Area

Public health|Epidemiology

Recommended Citation

Mhatre, Ashwini, "The association between diabetes and hepatitis C: A systematic review of epidemiological evidence" (2008). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1457566.