Cancer, metabolic syndrome increases risk. Here’s how much

Cancer, metabolic syndrome increases risk.  Here’s how much


Metabolic syndrome is not a disease in itself, but a combination of risk factors that increase the likelihood of suffering from diseases: cardiovascular, stroke, diabetes, liver diseases. And also tumors. Now, the authors of a study published on Cancer found a significant association between severe and prolonged metabolic syndrome and increased likelihood of breast, endometrial, kidney, colorectal and liver cancer.

What are we talking about when we talk about metabolic syndrome

Metabolic syndrome is a clinical condition that affects approximately 20-25% of the world’s adult population and, according to some estimates, even up to 50% of 50-60 year olds. It is characterized by a set of pathophysiological alterations which include abdominal obesity (waist circumference greater than 88 centimeters in women and 96 in men), arterial hypertension, dyslipidemia (over 150 milligrams of triglycerides per deciliter of blood), low levels of “good” cholesterol HDL (less than 50 in women and 45 in men) and impaired glucose metabolism (fasting blood sugar greater than 100). If you are positive for even three of these five characteristics, then you suffer from metabolic syndrome, and the risk of falling ill increases.

I study

Between 2006 and 2010 the authors evaluated all the factors involved in the metabolic syndrome of over 44 thousand adults, and assigned a score, on the basis of which they divided the patients into 4 groups: from the group with low and stable values ​​over time ( and therefore with a metabolic syndrome that is not serious and does not worsen) to the group with the highest values ​​and which tended to worsen over the years. They followed all these people for 11 years, from 2010 to 2021. In this period they counted over 2,200 cancer diagnoses, and most were concentrated in the group with the most severe metabolic syndrome.

Compared to those who maintained low and stable values, those with severe metabolic syndrome also had a higher risk of getting: any type of cancer (1.3 times), breast cancer (2.1 times) , endometrial cancer (by 3.3 times), kidney cancer (by 4.5 times), colorectal cancer (by 2.5 times) and liver cancer (by 1.6 times ). “Proactive and ongoing management of metabolic syndrome may be an essential cancer prevention strategy,” he said Han Ping Shifrom the Department of Gastroenterology and Clinical Nutrition at Peking University and senior author of the work in Cancer – Our study may guide the search for biological mechanisms linking metabolic syndrome to cancer, and potentially lead to targeted treatments or prevention strategies ”.

Correct lifestyles must be maintained throughout life

“We have known for some time that metabolic syndrome is associated with cardiovascular pathologies, and we have also known, for some years, that there is a link between this clinical condition and a higher risk of getting various forms of cancer – he commented to Oncoline Nicola Silvestris national secretary of the Italian Association of Medical Oncology (Aiom) and full professor of Oncology at the University of Messina. “But this study – he added – is very interesting for the high number of people involved, and above all because the authors measured the values ​​of metabolic syndrome over time, 3 times in 4 years, and followed the clinical histories of the people for over a decade. Thus clearly demonstrating that to reduce the risk of getting cancer, correct lifestyles, and in particular a healthy diet and regular and adequate physical activity, must be practiced and maintained over the years. From the 2023 Aiom-Airtum data we know that 4 in 10 adults weigh more than they should and one in 10 is obese. Lifestyle must accompany a life, in fact, it is not a season of good intentions.”


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