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Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2012 Aug;32(8):1766-70. doi: 10.1161/ATVBAHA.111.241927.

Growth signals, inflammation, and vascular perturbations: mechanistic links between obesity, metabolic syndrome, and cancer.

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Department of Nutritional Sciences, Dell Pediatric Research Institute, University of Texas at Austin, 1400 Barbara Jordan Blvd, Austin, TX 78723, USA.


Nearly 35% of adults and 20% of children in the United States are obese, defined as a body mass index ≥ 30 kg/m(2). Obesity, which is accompanied by metabolic dysregulation often manifesting in the metabolic syndrome, is an established risk factor for many cancers. Within the growth-promoting, proinflammatory environment of the obese state, cross talk between macrophages, adipocytes, and epithelial cells occurs via obesity-associated hormones, cytokines, and other mediators that may enhance cancer risk and progression. This review synthesizes the evidence on key biological mechanisms underlying the obesity-cancer link, with particular emphasis on obesity-associated enhancements in growth factor signaling, inflammation, and vascular integrity processes. These interrelated pathways represent possible mechanistic targets for disrupting the obesity-cancer link.

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