Current perspectives between metabolic syndrome and cancer

Carla Micucci, Debora Valli, Giulia Matacchione and Alfonso Catalano _

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Oncotarget. 2016; 7:38959-38972. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.8341

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Carla Micucci1, Debora Valli1, Giulia Matacchione1 and Alfonso Catalano1

1 Department of Clinical and Molecular Sciences, Polytechnic University of Marche, School of Medicine, Ancona, Italy

Correspondence to:

Alfonso Catalano, email:

Keywords: metabolic syndrome, cancer risk, visceral adiposity, hyperglycemia, inflammation

Received: September 30, 2015 Accepted: February 20, 2016 Published: March 24, 2016


Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of risk factors that lead to cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Recent studies linked metabolic syndrome and several types of cancer. Although metabolic syndrome may not necessarily cause cancer, it is linked to poorer cancer outcomes including increased risk of recurrence and overall mortality. This review tends to discuss the major biological and physiological alterations involved in the increase of incidence and mortality of cancer patients affected by metabolic syndrome. We focus on metabolic syndrome-associated visceral adiposity, hyperinsulinemia, hyperglycemia, insulin-like growth factor (IGF-I) pathway as well as estrogen signaling and inflammation. Several of these factors are also involved in carcinogenesis and cancer progression. A better understanding of the link between metabolic syndrome and cancer may provide new insight about oncogenesis. Moreover, prevention of metabolic syndrome – related alterations may be an important aspect in the management of cancer patients during simultaneous palliative care.

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