Metabolic syndrome, such as high blood sugar and blood pressure, linked to increased risk of cancer

People with persistent and worsening metabolic syndrome, which includes conditions such as high blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess abdominal fat, and abnormal cholesterol, may be at higher risk of developing various types of cancer, according to international researchers. The study included 44,115 adults in China, and categorised participants based on the trends in their health from 2006 to 2010. They found that, compared to those with low levels of metabolic issues that remained stable, those with higher and increasing scores relating to metabolic syndrome had a higher risk of developing cancer, including breast, endometrial, kidney, colorectal, and liver cancer. 

Journal/conference: Cancer

Link to research (DOI): 10.1002/cncr.35235

Organisation/s: Beijing Shijitan Hospital of Capital Medical University, China

Funder: This work was supported by the National Key Research
and Development Program (2022YFC2009600 and
2022YFC2009601); Laboratory for Clinical Medicine, Capital Medical
University (2023‐SYJCLC01); and National Multidisciplinary
Cooperative Diagnosis and Treatment Capacity Project for Major
Diseases: Comprehensive Treatment and Management of Critically Ill
Elderly Inpatients (No. 2019 YLFW) to Hanping Shi. The funders had
no role in considering the study design or in the collection, analysis,
interpretation of data, writing of the report, or decision to submit the
article for publication. This study obtained ethical approval from the
ethics committees of Kailuan General Hospital and Beijing Shijitan
Hospital, and it adhered to the principles outlined in the Declaration
of Helsinki. Written informed consent was obtained from participants
or their legal representatives. The Kailuan Study was retrospectively
registered in the Chinese Clinical Trial Register on February 12, 2020
proj=48316). The manuscript’s guarantor affirms that this manuscript
is an honest, accurate, and transparent account of the study
being reported; that no important aspects of the study have been
omitted; and that any discrepancies from the study as planned (and, if
relevant, registered) have been explained.

Media release

From: Wiley

Does worsening metabolic syndrome increase the risk of developing cancer?  

Study reveals a significant link, suggesting that managing metabolic syndrome may help prevent cancer. 

New research indicates that individuals with persistent and worsening metabolic syndrome—which encompasses conditions such as high blood pressure, elevated blood sugar, excess abdominal fat, and abnormal cholesterol—face an elevated risk of developing various types of cancer. The findings are published by Wiley online in CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society. 

In the study, 44,115 adults in China with an average age of 49 years were categorized into 4 different trajectories based on trends from 2006 (the time of the first physical exam) to 2010: 10.56% exhibited a low-stable pattern and maintained low metabolic syndrome scores; 40.84% exhibited a moderate-low pattern and maintained moderate to low metabolic syndrome scores; 41.46% exhibited a moderate-high pattern and consistently maintained moderate to high metabolic syndrome scores; and 7.14% exhibited an elevated-increasing pattern in which initially elevated metabolic syndrome scores increased over time.  

During the follow-up period of 2010–2021, with a median follow-up of 9.4 years, there were 2,271 cancer diagnoses among participants. Compared with participants with a low-stable trajectory pattern, those with an elevated-increasing trajectory pattern had 1.3-, 2.1-, 3.3-, 4.5-, 2.5-, and 1.6-times higher risks of developing any cancer, breast cancer, endometrial cancer, kidney cancer, colorectal cancer, and liver cancer, respectively. 

Even when the low-stable, moderate-low, and moderate-high trajectory pattern groups were combined, the elevated-increasing trajectory pattern group had higher risks of developing all cancer types. 

Also, participants with persistently high metabolic syndrome scores and concurrent chronic inflammation had the highest risks of developing breast, endometrial, colon, and liver cancer, whereas the risk of kidney cancer was predominantly observed among participants with persistently high scores but without chronic inflammation. 

“This research suggests that proactive and continuous management of metabolic syndrome may serve as an essential strategy in preventing cancer,” said senior author Han-Ping Shi, MD, PhD, of Capital Medical University, in Beijing. “Our study can guide future research into the biological mechanisms linking metabolic syndrome to cancer, potentially resulting in targeted treatments or preventive strategies. Formal evaluation of these interventions will be needed to determine if they are able to modulate cancer risk.” 


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