OBJECTIVES: To review the current knowledge about tuberculosis (TB) and diabetes, assessing the implication of the global increase of diabetes for TB control and patient care. METHODS: Systematic literature review. RESULTS: Using public databases, it can be estimated that 12.6% (95% CI 9.2-17.3%) of new TB cases in the 10 countries with the highest TB burden will be attributable to TB in 2030, a relative increase of 25.5% compared to 2010. Diabetes is associated with a higher age and body weight among patients with TB, but probably not with a specific clinical presentation of TB. Rifampicin hampers glycemic control by increasing the metabolism of most oral antidiabetic drugs, while diabetes patients may have lower concentrations of anti-TB drugs. This might be one factor contributing to higher TB treatment failure rates. CONCLUSIONS: The global epidemic of diabetes has implications for control and treatment of TB. Prospective studies are needed to improve prevention, early detection and treatment of concomitant diabetes and TB, especially in developing countries.