Korean J Epidemiol.  2005 Dec;27(2):38-50.

Insulin resistance and cancer

  • 1Department of Epidemiology and Health Promotion, Graduate School of Public Health, Yonsei University, Seoul, Korea.
  • 2Department of Family Medicine, Eulji Medical Center, Medical college of Eulji University, Seoul, Korea.


Both obesity and diabetes have been proposed as risk factors of cancer. Obesity may be a more significant health problem, which can increase the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease, which is the most common cause of death. Insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome are suspected of being correlated with cancer risk. Most studies are carried out on the assumption that obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer are different conditions. However, they have common risk factors-smoking, obesity, and physical inactivity. Although the pathways leading to these diseases are unknown, we brought a focus into the multi-dimensional pathways instead of single pathogenesis. The interaction between pathogenesis can be thought to start from risk factors, and through pathogenesis, diseases can also lead to a severe cause of death. Epidemic of obesity and diabetes is a significant and growing public health problem. This paper reviewed the evidences of the correlation between insulin resistances and cancer and we explored whether insulin resistance may contribute to carcinogenesis.


Insulin resistance; Neoplasms; Obesity; Diabetes Mellitus; Metabolic syndrome

MeSH Terms

Cardiovascular Diseases
Cause of Death
Diabetes Mellitus
Insulin Resistance*
Public Health
Risk Factors
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