Obesity and type 2 diabetes are becoming increasingly prevalent worldwide, and both are associated with an increased incidence and mortality from many cancers. The metabolic abnormalities associated with type 2 diabetes develop many years before the onset of diabetes and, therefore, may be contributing to cancer risk before individuals are aware that they are at risk. Multiple factors potentially contribute to the progression of cancer in obesity and type 2 diabetes, including hyperinsulinemia and insulin-like growth factor I, hyperglycemia, dyslipidemia, adipokines and cytokines, and the gut microbiome. These metabolic changes may contribute directly or indirectly to cancer progression. Intentional weight loss may protect against cancer development, and therapies for diabetes may prove to be effective adjuvant agents in reducing cancer progression. In this review we discuss the current epidemiology, basic science, and clinical data that link obesity, diabetes, and cancer and how treating obesity and type 2 diabetes could also reduce cancer risk and improve outcomes.
Copyright © 2015 the American Physiological Society.