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Ann Nutr Metab. 2016;68(3):173-9. doi: 10.1159/000443743. Epub 2016 Feb 20.

Association between Metabolic Syndrome and Cancer.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Istanbul Medeniyet University, Istanbul, Turkey.


Growing data show the association of metabolic syndrome (MetS) or its components with cancer development and cancer-related mortality. It is suggested that in MetS and cancer association, insulin resistance and insulin-like growth factor 1 system play a key role, especially adipokines secreted from visceral adipocytes, free fatty acids and aromatase activity contribute to this process. It is also reported that MetS has a link with colorectal, breast, endometrial, pancreas, primary liver and, although controversial, prostate cancer. Although every component of MetS is known to have an association with cancer development, it is still debated whether the effects of these components are additive or synergistic. On the other hand, in the association between MetS and cancer, the role of antidiabetic and antihypertensive treatments including thiazolidinedione, insulin, angiotensin receptor blockers is also suggested. The primary approach in MetS-cancer relation is to prevent risk factors. Life style changes including weight loss and a healthy diet are known to decrease cancer risk in normal population. It is postulated that an insulin-sensitizing agent, metformin, has cancer-preventing effects on diabetic patients. This review discusses the relationship between MetS and cancer from different aspects and examines this relationship in some of the cancers suggested to be linked with MetS.

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