Metabolic syndrome and risk of cancer: which link?

Metabolism. 2015 Feb;64(2):182-9. doi: 10.1016/j.metabol.2014.10.008. Epub 2014 Oct 18.


Metabolic syndrome (MS) is characterized by a group of metabolic disturbances which lead to an enhanced risk of cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes mellitus. MS constitutes a preoccupant issue with elevated prevalence in the western countries and is often related with cancer development. Elucidating the mechanisms linking these two pathologies is, therefore, essential to identify potential therapeutic molecular targets for cancer treatment in MS patients. The main goals of this review are, to identify the relation between MS and cancer development, handling specifically each one of the main players on this process: insulin and IGF system, estrogen, pro-inflammatory cytokines and others; and, given that colorectal cancer is one of the most prevalent types of cancer in MS patients, we intend to particularly highlight the mechanisms that promote colorectal cancer development in MS individuals. Finally, we will also focus on the clinical implications of the presented mechanisms on cancer therapy and care.

Keywords: Cancer progression; Colorectal cancer; Metabolic syndrome; Molecular mechanisms; Therapeutic targets.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Breast Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Breast Neoplasms / etiology
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / epidemiology
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / etiology
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / metabolism
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Endometrial Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Endometrial Neoplasms / etiology
  • Endometrial Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Liver Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Liver Neoplasms / etiology
  • Liver Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Male
  • Metabolic Syndrome / metabolism
  • Metabolic Syndrome / physiopathology*
  • Models, Biological*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / etiology
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Risk Factors