Background: A large number of prospective studies have shown that overweight and diabetes are related to an increased risk of many cancers, including colorectal cancer. In contrast, diabetes has been related to a decreased risk of prostate cancer, and overweight has been related to an increased risk of fatal, but not of incident, prostate cancer. Data from studies on metabolic factors related to overweight and diabetes, and the association with cancer risk, are limited.
Aim: The aim of this thesis was to study metabolic factors in relation to risk of prostate cancer (paper I and III), colorectal cancer (paper II and V), and cancer overall (paper VI).
Methods: Study designs were i) case-control studies, nested within the Northern Sweden Health and Disease Cohort (paper I and II), and ii) cohort studies of the Swedish Construction Workers cohort (paper III), and the Metabolic syndrome and Cancer project (Me-Can) comprising seven European cohorts (paper V and VI). Paper IV was a descriptive paper of Me-Can.
Results, prostate cancer: In paper I, increasing levels of several factors related to insulin resistance (insulin, insulin resistance index, leptin, HbA1c, and glucose) were associated with a decreased risk of overall incident prostate cancer, and the associations were stronger for non-aggressive tumours. In paper III, increasing levels of blood pressure was associated with a significant decreased risk of overall incident prostate cancer and of non-aggressive tumours. Body mass index (BMI) was significantly positively related to fatal prostate cancer.
Results, colorectal cancer: In paper II, obesity, hypertension, and hyperglycaemia, were associated with an increased risk of colorectal cancer, and presence of two or three of these factors was associated with a higher risk than the presence of one single factor. In paper V, BMI was associated with a significant linear positive association with risk of colorectal cancer in men and women, and significant positive associations were also found in men for blood pressure and triglycerides. A high metabolic syndrome score, based on levels of BMI, blood pressure, glucose, cholesterol, and triglycerides, was associated with a significant increased risk of colorectal cancer in men and women. The association was stronger than for any of the factors in single, but there was no evidence of a positive interaction between these metabolic factors.
Results, cancer overall: Blood glucose was significantly positively associated with risk of incident and fatal cancer overall, and at several specific sites. The associations were stronger in women than in men, and for fatal than for incident cancer.
Conclusions: Results from these studies indicate that elevated blood glucose is related to an increased risk of cancer overall and at several specific sites, and further, that overweight and metabolic aberrations increase the risk of colorectal cancer in an additive way. The association with prostate cancer seems to be more complex; insulin resistance and high blood pressure were in our studies related to a decreased risk of overall incident prostate cancer and of non-aggressive tumours, whereas overweight increased the risk of fatal prostate cancer.
Umeå: Institutionen för kirurgi och perioperativ vetenskap , 2009. , 90 p.
2009-06-05, Sal B, byggnad 1 D, Umeå Universitetssjukhus, Umeå, 13:15 (English)