Diabetics may have a higher risk of cancer, notably liver and pancreatic cancers. Evidence about other cancer types remains sparse. The authors examined potential associations between diabetes and several types of cancer in a large multicancer case–control project carried out in Montreal, Canada, in the 1980s. This report, based on 3,107 male cancer cases and 509 population controls, uses information on diabetes and several covariates collected by interview. Adjusted odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were estimated for the associations between diabetes and each of 12 cancer types. Risks of pancreatic and liver cancers were increased among diabetics: adjusted ORs were 2.1 (95% CI: 1.0, 4.3) for pancreatic and 3.1 (95% CI: 1.1, 8.8) for liver cancer. The increased risk of pancreatic cancer was completely restricted to those with recent onset of diabetes; this was likely a manifestation of reverse causality. Conversely, the increased risk of liver cancer was independent of the interval between diabetes and cancer diagnoses. No associations were observed with melanoma, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, cancers of the esophagus, stomach, colon, rectum, lung, prostate, bladder and kidney. In conclusion, diabetes was associated with an increased risk of liver cancer among men, but with no other cancer type including pancreatic cancer. © 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.