Metabolic syndrome, obesity, and the risk of cancer development

Rafael Bitzur, Ronen Brenner, Elad Maor, Maayan Antebi, Tomer Ziv-Baran, Shlomo Segev, Yechezkel Sidi, Shaye Kivity*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background Metabolic syndrome and its components are severe global health issues that are increasing in frequency as the prevalence of obesity increases. Various studies have established a correlation between metabolic syndrome and diseases including, diabetes mellitus, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, cirrhosis, and cardiovascular disease. In recent years, correlations have also been detected between obesity and metabolic syndrome and the prevalence of certain types of cancer. The current study examines whether obesity and metabolic syndrome components are risk factors for cancer among the adult population in Israel. Methods A cohort study analysis was performed of 24,987 initially healthy men and women who underwent yearly medical assessments at the Institute for Medical Screening in the Sheba Medical Center. Data from the Institute for Medical Screening database was correlated with that from the Israel Cancer Center in the Ministry of Health updated to December 2013. The correlation between metabolic syndrome, obesity, and the overall risk of cancer as well as the risks of specific types of cancer were examined. Results Of 20,444 subjects for whom complete data were available, 1535 were diagnosed with cancer during the mean follow-up time of 104.3 months. In a multi-variant analysis, no significant correlation was found between metabolic syndrome or obesity and the incidence of cancer. When the data were stratified by gender and cancer type, however, a significant association between metabolic syndrome and breast cancer in women was observed (P = 0.03, HR = 1.67, 95% CI = 1.05–2.67). Conclusion Metabolic syndrome correlates with higher than expected breast cancer incidence in women.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-93
Number of pages5
JournalEuropean Journal of Internal Medicine
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2016


  • Breast cancer
  • Cancer
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Obesity
  • Overweight


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