Obesity, metabolic syndrome, and prostate cancer.
Although obesity has been consistently linked to an increased risk of several malignancies, including cancers of the colon, gallbladder, kidney, and pancreas, its role in prostate cancer etiology remains elusive. Data on the association between obesity and prostate cancer incidence are inconsistent, and in some studies obesity is associated with an increase in risk of high-grade prostate cancer but with a decrease in risk of low-grade tumors. In contrast, obesity has been consistently associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer aggressiveness and mortality. The differential effects of obesity on subtypes of prostate cancer suggest etiologic heterogeneity in these tumors and complex interactions between androgen metabolism and several putative risk factors, including insulin resistance, diabetes, inflammation, and genetic susceptibility, on prostate cancer risk. Data on the role of abdominal obesity, insulin resistance, and metabolic syndrome in prostate cancer etiology are limited. Obesity has been shown to be associated with a state of low-grade chronic inflammation, and insulin resistance and the metabolic syndrome are associated with adverse metabolic profiles and with higher circulating concentrations of inflammation-related markers, including leptin, interleukin-6, and tumor necrosis factor-, many of which have been shown to enhance tumor growth. Thus, whether obesity and metabolic syndrome modulate the risk of prostate cancer through chronic inflammation needs to be investigated further. Given that the prevalence of obesity and metabolic syndrome is increasing worldwide and that the world population is aging, the roles of obesity and metabolic syndrome in prostate carcinogenesis warrant further clarification.