Endometrial Cancer Tied to Obesity

Obesity is a risk factor for certain cancers and endometrial is among them

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Chris Galloway, M.D.

(RxWiki News) Scientists think the link between endometrial or uterine cancer and obesity may lie in insulin levels gone awry. Treating obesity and insulin resistance could help prevent this cancer.

A recent study tested insulin resistance markers in 541 endometrial cancer patients. Results found irregular insulin levels to be common in these cancer patients compared to healthy individuals.

"Talk to your doctor about a healthy weight for you."

Christine M. Friedenreich, PhD, from Alberta Health Services—Cancer Care in Canada, was the lead author of the investigation.

Markers of insulin resistance are usually associated with obesity, which is a known risk factors for endometrial cancer.

For the study, 541 endometrial cancer patients and 961 healthy controls were tested for certain insulin resistance markers from 2002-2006.

Insulin resistance markers evaluated by this study were the proteins: leptin, which helps to regulate appetite and metabolism; adiponectin, which helps regulate glucose levels; and insulin, which regulates metabolism and glucose levels.

Each participant had blood samples tested after 8-hours of fasting.

They compared the risk for endometrial cancer to the lower 25 percent of insulin levels and to the highest 25 percent of insulin levels.

Results showed a 64 percent in the lower-level group and in the higher-level group a 72 percent chance of endometrial cancer.

For adiponectin levels, the highest 25 percent in the group had a 45 percent lower risk of endometrial cancer.

Leptin did not appear to be linked to a higher risk for endometrial cancer.

Authors concluded that insulin resistance that contributes to obesity increases the risk for endometrial cancer.

They said, “Interventions aimed at decreasing both obesity and insulin resistance may decrease endometrial cancer risk.”

This study was published in October in Endocrine-Related Cancer.

No funding information was given. No conflicts of interest were found.

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Review Date: 
October 10, 2012
Last Updated:
October 13, 2012