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Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2005 Oct-Dec;6(4):547-52.

Obesity, breast cancer and the role of adipocytokines.

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Division of Non Communicable Diseases, Indian Council of Medical Research, Ansari Nagar, New Delhi 110 029, India.


Obesity is a worldwide problem which impacts the risk and prognosis of some of the more common forms of cancer, including breast cancer in post-menopausal women. As the basis for understanding the potential mechanisms of obesity and cancer relationship has advanced, a number of new hypotheses have emerged. The adipocytokines are a complex group of biologically active polypeptides. Leptin is a growth hormone, secreted by adipose tissue, whose levels are normally elevated in obese individuals and may have a promoting effect on carcinogenesis and metastasis of breast cancer, possibly in an autocrine manner. Leptin interferes with the insulin signaling pathway and in type 2 diabetes plasma leptin levels are found to be correlated with the degree of insulin resistance, a relationship independent of body mass. This relationship might provide a mechanistic explanation for promotion potential.

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