Metabolic Syndrome and Prostate Cancer: A Review of Complex Interplay Amongst Various Endocrine Factors in the Pathophysiology and Progression of Prostate Cancer

Horm Cancer. 2016 Apr;7(2):75-83. doi: 10.1007/s12672-015-0238-x. Epub 2015 Nov 6.


The human prostate gland is an endocrine organ where dysregulation of various hormonal factors may play a pivotal role in the pathogenesis of prostate cancer. There is emerging epidemiological data to support the role of components of metabolic syndrome, namely, obesity, hypercholesterolaemia, diabetes and hyperinsulinaemia on the development and/or the progression of prostate cancer. Although the exact mechanisms behind the relationship between metabolic syndrome and prostate cancer remain largely unknown, various in vitro and animal experiments of metabolic syndrome models have been shown to promote survival, mitogenesis, metastasis and treatment resistance pathways, through various adaptive responses such as intracellular steroidogenesis and lipogenesis. Also, in a large proportion of men with metabolic syndrome, alteration in levels of hormones such as testosterone, leptin and adiponectin has been shown to contribute towards the aggression of prostate cancer. Whilst the exact bio-pathophysiological mechanisms between metabolic syndrome and prostate cancer are yet to be fully elucidated, medications that target specific components of metabolic syndrome have further provided evidence for the inter-relationship between metabolic syndrome, its components and prostate cancer. Emerging in vitro and molecular data is likely to bring us closer to utilizing this knowledge to target particular cancer survival pathways and improving outcomes for men with prostate cancer.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adiponectin / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Disease Progression
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Humans
  • Leptin / metabolism
  • Male
  • Metabolic Syndrome / metabolism
  • Metabolic Syndrome / pathology*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Testosterone / metabolism


  • ADIPOQ protein, human
  • Adiponectin
  • Leptin
  • Testosterone