Ethnicity, obesity and the prevalence of impaired glucose tolerance and type 2 diabetes in PCOS: A systematic review and meta-regression

N. S. Kakoly, M. B. Khomami, A. E. Joham, S. D. Cooray, M. L. Misso, R. J. Norman, C. L. Harrison, S. Ranasinha, H. J. Teede, L. J. Moran

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BACKGROUND: Our prior meta-analyses demonstrated an increased prevalence of impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), but with substantial clinical heterogeneity. OBJECTIVE AND RATIONALE: We aimed to update our previous review to quantify the prevalence of IGT and T2DM in PCOS with only quality studies (good and fair quality). We also aimed to examine the contribution of parameters including ethnicity, obesity and method of diagnosing T2DM in explaining the observed heterogeneity in IGT and T2DM prevalence in PCOS. SEARCH METHODS: We conducted a literature search (MEDLINE, CINAHL, EMBASE, clinical trial registries and hand-searching) up to June 2016 to identify studies reporting the prevalence of dysglycemia (IGT and T2DM) in women with and without PCOS. We included studies where women with PCOS (defined according to original National Institute of Health) were compared to women without PCOS for the end-points of the prevalence of IGT or T2DM. We excluded case reports, case series, editorials, and narrative reviews. Studies where PCOS was diagnosed by self-report, or where IGT or T2DM were measured by fasting glucose, only were excluded. We assessed the methodological quality of the included studies using a priori criteria based on the Newcastle-Ottawa Scaling (NOS) for nonrandomized studies. Data are presented as odds ratio (OR) (95% CI) with random-effects meta-analysis by Mantel-Haenszel methods. We assessed the contribution of demographic and clinical factors to heterogeneity using subgroup and meta-regression analysis. OUTCOMES: We reviewed 4530 studies and included 40 eligible studies in the final analysis. On meta-analysis of quality studies, women with PCOS had an increased prevalence of IGT (OR = 3.26, 95% CI: 2.17-4.90) and T2DM (OR = 2.87, 95% CI: 1.44-5.72), which differed by ethnicity (for IGT, Asia: 5-fold, the Americas: 4-fold and Europe: 3-fold), was higher with obesity, and doubled among studies using self-report or administrative data for diagnosing diabetes. The ethnicity-related difference retained its significance for Asia and Europe in BMI-matched subgroups. Clear contributors to heterogeneity did not emerge in meta-regression. WIDER IMPLICATIONS: Our findings underscore the importance of PCOS as a cause of dysglycemia with a higher prevalence of IGT and T2DM. They support the relevance of ethnicity and obesity and emphasize the need for accurate diagnostic methods for diabetes. PROSPERO REGISTRATION NUMBER: CRD42017056524.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)455-467
Number of pages13
JournalHuman Reproduction Update
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2018


  • Impaired glucose tolerance
  • Meta-analysis
  • Meta-regression
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome
  • Type 2 diabetes mellitus

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