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BioMed Research International
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 920618, 12 pages
Review Article

The Association between Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus and Women Cancer: The Epidemiological Evidences and Putative Mechanisms

1Department of Internal Medicine, Chungnam National University School of Medicine, 282 Munhwa-ro, Jung-gu, Daejeon 301-721, Republic of Korea
2Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Biology, Michigan State University, College of Human Medicine, 333 Bostwick Avenue NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503, USA

Received 24 June 2014; Revised 12 September 2014; Accepted 8 October 2014

Academic Editor: Viroj Boonyaratanakornkit

Copyright © 2015 Kyong Hye Joung et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), a chronic disease increasing rapidly worldwide, is well established as an important risk factor for various types of cancer. Although many factors impact the development of T2DM and cancer including sex, age, ethnicity, obesity, diet, physical activity levels, and environmental exposure, many epidemiological and experimental studies are gradually contributing to knowledge regarding the interrelationship between DM and cancer. The insulin resistance, hyperinsulinemia, and chronic inflammation associated with diabetes mellitus are all associated strongly with cancer. The changes in bioavailable ovarian steroid hormone that occur in diabetes mellitus (the increasing levels of estrogen and androgen and the decreasing level of progesterone) are also considered potentially carcinogenic conditions for the breast, endometrium, and ovaries in women. In addition, the interaction among insulin, insulin-like growth factors (IGFs), and ovarian steroid hormones, such as estrogen and progesterone, could act synergistically during cancer development. Here, we review the cancer-related mechanisms in T2DM, the epidemiological evidence linking T2DM and cancers in women, and the role of antidiabetic medication in these cancers.