Metabolic Dysfunction Linked To Increased Cancer Risk, Study Shows

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Metabolic dysfunction, notably diabetes, has been linked to higher cancer risks, including colon, breast, pancreas, uterus ovary, liver, cancers, as well as poorer outcomes such as recurrence and death. Insulin resistance plays a pivotal role in this connection. Interestingly, Danish researchers have discovered a significant link between cancer and Type 2 diabetes.

Insulin resistance a risk factor for cancer

A meta-analysis by University of Copenhagen researchers examined 15 studies involving 187 cancer patients and 154 healthy controls. The study focused on high-quality research to analyze insulin sensitivity in cancer patients.

Cancer patients show considerable insulin resistance, indicating impaired insulin function and reduced glucose disposal rates, comparable to or exceeding those of individuals with Type 2 diabetes. This resistance is crucial in regulating blood sugar levels and suggests an elevated risk of diabetes among cancer patients, in line with recent research findings.

Insulin resistance, besides its known impact on diabetes, can also accelerate cancer cell proliferation due to insulin’s role as a growth hormone. Elevated insulin levels stimulate cancer cell growth, worsening the condition for cancer patients. Moreover, insulin resistance contributes to muscle protein breakdown, leading to muscle loss and weakness, adding to the challenges faced by cancer patients.

According to research, cancer, its treatments, and common risk factors such as obesity and physical inactivity may lead to insulin resistance. Chemotherapy, specific medications, and lifestyle choices could influence this outcome.

Addressing insulin resistance improves outcomes

Associate Professor Lykke Sylow emphasizes the need to identify cancer patients prone to developing insulin resistance. She suggests exploring whether specific cancer types or treatment-related factors contribute to this risk. Additionally she advocates for conducting comprehensive studies on insulin resistance treatment’s long-term efficacy and its potential benefits for patients.

It is important to address insulin resistance in cancer treatment to improve patient outcomes. The study suggests using simple methods like HOMA, QUICKI, and Matsuda indices in clinics to assess insulin resistance and highlights the potential benefits of managing it in reducing cancer recurrence and complications. Physical activity is mentioned as a known method to counter insulin resistance, though more research is needed to customize interventions for different cancer types.

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