There is emerging evidence that the association between obesity and cancer is mediated by visceral rather than generalised body fat. Visceral fat has been directly implicated in the risk and progression of several gastrointestinal cancers including colorectal, oesophageal, pancreatic and hepatocellular carcinomas. Excess visceral adipose tissue induces a state of chronic systemic inflammation and altered metabolic activity that promotes a pro-oncogenic environment. This review examines the evidence linking visceral fat in gastrointestinal and hepatic carcinogenesis and explores our current understanding of the mechanisms underlying this relationship.
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