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Mt Sinai J Med. 2010 Mar-Apr;77(2):197-213. doi: 10.1002/msj.20167.

Type 2 diabetes and cancer: what is the connection?

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Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY, USA.


Epidemiological studies have demonstrated an association between type 2 diabetes and cancer. Type 2 diabetes is characterized by insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia. Hyperinsulinemia may lead to cancer through insulin's effect on its cognate receptor and the insulin-like growth factor system. The effects of insulin and insulin-like growth factor I on cancer development and progression have been demonstrated in animal and human studies. Type 2 diabetes has been positively associated with cancers of the breast, colon, and pancreas. An inverse relationship has been observed between type 2 diabetes and prostate cancer, and this may be due to lower testosterone levels in men with type 2 diabetes. Medications used to treat type 2 diabetes may affect cancer cells directly or indirectly by affecting serum insulin levels. Hyperinsulinemia may be an important risk factor for cancer as well as a target for cancer therapy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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