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Link between obesity and cancer: confirmation of colon cancer
It has been known for years that obesity increases the risk of cancer. But this connection does not apply to all types of cancer. It has now been confirmed for colorectal cancer. But with uterine cancer there is now evidence to the contrary.
Obesity favors cancer
Although there are still numerous types of cancer whose triggers are not known, "we now know many factors that can trigger different types of cancer - but do not necessarily have to," wrote the Bavarian Cancer Society on its website. To protect yourself from cancer, it is recommended, among other things, to avoid obesity. According to a British study, being overweight increases the risk of at least 13 different types of cancer, including breast and colon cancer. There is now new evidence regarding the connection between obesity and uterine cancer.
Increased risk of colon cancer
According to health experts, avoiding obesity is one of the most important rules to protect yourself from colon cancer.
According to popular belief, people who are too fat not only have an increased risk of colon cancer but also of uterine cancer.
According to a new study by the Medical University of Innsbruck, this often confirmed connection must now be seen under new circumstances.
The researchers led by medical statistician Hanno Ulmer were able to demonstrate that the TyG (triglyceride-glucose) index, which is increased in the case of obesity and is important for insulin resistance, explains the risk of tumors in the digestive tract, but not the risk of gynecological forms of cancer.
Knowledge contradicting the current doctrine
As written in a communication from the Austrian university, endometrial cancer (uterine cancer) "has nothing to do with high blood fat and sugar levels".
This is the surprising finding that contradicts the current doctrine of a study recently published in the specialist journal "International Journal of Epidemiology" under the direction of Hanno Ulmer and Josef Fritz from the Medical University of Innsbruck, which was part of the European cooperation project "Me-Can" ( Metabolic syndrome and Cancer) was carried out.
The results will also be presented at the American Clinical Oncology Society (ASCO 2019) annual meeting in Chicago in early June.
Cancer cases associated with obesity
Metabolic factors such as obesity (obesity), high blood pressure, changes in blood lipid levels or insulin resistance have already been linked to cancer.
For example, gastrointestinal forms of cancer such as colon, liver and kidney cancer, but also the development of gynecological tumors are associated with obesity and the associated insulin resistance.
In the Austrian study, the data from over 500,000 participants from six European cohorts were summarized and analyzed, who were observed for an average of 17 years with regard to their lifestyle and emerging cancers.
During this period, there were 16,000 cancer cases known to be associated with obesity, such as colon, liver, kidney, pancreas and gallbladder cancer (gastrointestinal tumors) as well as uterine and ovarian cancer and post-menopausal breast cancer (gynecological tumors).
"In order to be able to present possible causal relationships, we have used a new key figure, the TyG index," said the lead study authors Josef Fritz and Hanno Ulmer.
"This special metabolism marker is the product of triglycerides and glucose and is therefore an easily available measure of insulin resistance, which also corresponds to a high degree with the gold standard for determining insulin resistance, the clamp test," the scientists explain.
Insulin resistance, i.e. the reduced sensitivity of the body's cells to the hormone insulin and the precursor of type II diabetes, is being discussed in specialist circles as an explanation for the connection between obesity and cancer.
Because the growth-stimulating hormone insulin stimulates cell division and can therefore also promote tumor growth.
Confirmation of colorectal cancer, evidence against cancer of the uterus
Obesity is often associated with increased triglyceride and glucose levels.
"The results of our multicenter cohort study demonstrate," says Ulmer, "that a high TyG index correlates significantly with an increased risk of gastrointestinal tumors. In addition, the TyG index also explains about 25 percent of the effects of being overweight on cancer. ”
The researchers can thus provide strong confirmation of the cancer-promoting effects of obesity on liver, kidney, pancreatic and colon cancer.
But a second finding from the study is surprising.
Contrary to the view in medical literature that the likelihood of developing endometrial cancer (uterine cancer) or post-menopausal breast cancer is significantly increased in women with insulin resistance, the research team was unable to confirm this connection.
"Gynecological cancers are associated with obesity, but cannot be explained by the TyG index," says Ulmer.
“That means: elevated blood lipid and blood sugar levels are not causally related to the development of gynecological tumors. So the influence of estrogens on cancer is likely to be greater than expected. ”(Ad)