Insulin Resistance and Endometrial Cancer: Emerging Role for microRNA

Cancers (Basel). 2020 Sep 8;12(9):2559. doi: 10.3390/cancers12092559.


Endometrial cancer (EC) remains one of the most common cancers of the female reproductive system. Epidemiological and clinical data implicate insulin resistance (IR) and its accompanying hyperinsulinemia as key factors in the development of EC. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are short molecules of non-coding endogenous RNA that function as post-transcriptional regulators. Accumulating evidence has shown that the miRNA expression pattern is also likely to be associated with EC risk factors. The aim of this work was the verification of the relationships between IR, EC, and miRNA, and, as based on the literature data, elucidation of miRNA's potential utility for EC prevention in IR patients. The pathways affected in IR relate to the insulin receptors, insulin-like growth factors and their receptors, insulin-like growth factor binding proteins, sex hormone-binding globulin, and estrogens. Herein, we present and discuss arguments for miRNAs as a plausible molecular link between IR and EC development. Specifically, our careful literature search indicated that dysregulation of at least 13 miRNAs has been ascribed to both conditions. We conclude that there is a reasonable possibility for miRNAs to become a predictive factor of future EC in IR patients.

Keywords: adipokines; endometrial cancer; estrogens; hyperinsulinemia; insulin; insulin resistance; insulin signaling; insulin-like growth factors; microRNA.

Publication types

  • Review