Metabolic syndrome, obesity, and the risk of cancer development

  • Author Footnotes
    1 Equally contributed.
    Rafael Bitzur
    1 Equally contributed.
    The Bert W. Strassburger Lipid Center, Sheba Medical Center, 5265601 Tel Hashomer, Israel

    Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel-Aviv University, Ramat-Aviv, Israel
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  • Author Footnotes
    1 Equally contributed.
    Ronen Brenner
    1 Equally contributed.
    Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel-Aviv University, Ramat-Aviv, Israel

    Institute of Oncology, Wolfson Medical Center, Holon, Israel
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  • Elad Maor
    Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel-Aviv University, Ramat-Aviv, Israel

    Leviev Heart Institute, The Chaim Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer, Israel

    The Dr. Pinchas Borenstein Talpiot Medical Leadership Program 2013, Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer, Israel
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  • Maayan Antebi
    Department of Internal Medicine D, The Chaim Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer, Israel
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  • Tomer Ziv-Baran
    Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, School of Public Health, Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel-Aviv University, Ramat-Aviv, Israel
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  • Shlomo Segev
    Institute for Medical Screening, Sheba Medical Center, Israel
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  • Yechezkel Sidi
    Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel-Aviv University, Ramat-Aviv, Israel

    Department of Internal Medicine C, The Chaim Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer, Israel
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  • Shaye Kivity
    Corresponding author at: Department of Medicine A, Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer 52621, Israel.
    Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel-Aviv University, Ramat-Aviv, Israel

    The Dr. Pinchas Borenstein Talpiot Medical Leadership Program 2013, Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer, Israel

    Department of Internal Medicine A, The Chaim Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer, Israel
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  • Author Footnotes
    1 Equally contributed.
Published:August 18, 2016DOI:


      • In a cohort of healthy Israeli subjects, the cancer incidence during ~ 8.5 years follow-up was 5.7%, the prevalence of metabolic syndrome was 15.7%, and obesity (BMI > 30) 14.2%.
      • Neither metabolic syndrome nor obesity did not correlate with an increase in all type cancer incidences.
      • Metabolic syndrome was associated with higher incidence of breast cancer.



      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.


      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.


      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).


      Metabolic syndrome correlates with higher than expected breast cancer incidence in women.


      BMI (body mass index), CRP (C-reactive protein), PSA (prostate-specific antigen), HDL (High-density lipoprotein)


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