Diabetes mellitus and breast cancer

Ido Wolf*, Tamar Rubinek

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Over the past decades, type 2 diabetes mellitus has become a major health problem and is now affecting more than 7% of the adult population in developed countries. Diabetes mellitus commonly occurs together with breast cancer and two of the major risk factors for type 2 diabetes, older age and obesity, are also associated with breast cancer. At least four mechanisms may associate diabetes mellitus and breast cancer: activation of the insulin pathway, activation of the insulin-like growth factor pathway, altered regulation of endogenous sex hormones and altered regulation of adipocytokines. Comparative cohort studies and case-control studies suggest that type 2 diabetes mellitus is associated with 10-20% excess risk of breast cancer. Gestational diabetes mellitus, but not type 1 diabetes mellitus, might also be associated with excess risk of breast cancer. Diabetes mellitus and its complications can adversely affect screening utilization and cancer therapy, and clinical studies suggest an association between diabetes and adverse breast cancer characteristics and inferior outcome. Interestingly, several antidiabetic therapies, including the biguanides and the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor Y-ligands may also have activity against breast cancer and are being tested in clinical trials.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDiabetes and Cancer
Subtitle of host publicationEpidemiological Evidence and Molecular Links
EditorsKai Masur, Kurt Zanker, Frank Thevenod
Number of pages17
StatePublished - 2008

Publication series

NameFrontiers in Diabetes
ISSN (Print)0251-5342
ISSN (Electronic)1662-2995


Dive into the research topics of 'Diabetes mellitus and breast cancer'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this