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Gastroenterology Research and Practice
Volume 2012, Article ID 483623, 10 pages
Review Article

Metabolic Syndrome, Obesity, and Gastrointestinal Cancer

Department of Gastroenterology and Neurology, Faculty of Medicine, Kagawa University, 1750-1 Ikenobe, Miki-cho, Kita-gun, Takamatsu, Kagawa 761-0793, Japan

Received 29 June 2012; Revised 18 November 2012; Accepted 18 November 2012

Academic Editor: Dan L. Dumitrascu

Copyright © 2012 Shintaro Fujihara 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.


Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of metabolic abnormalities and is defined as the presence of three or more of the following factors: increased waist circumference, elevated triglycerides, low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, high blood pressure, and high fasting glucose. Obesity, which is accompanied by metabolic dysregulation often manifested in the metabolic syndrome, is an established risk factor for many cancers. Adipose tissue, particularly visceral fat, is an important metabolic tissue as it secretes systemic factors that alter the immunologic, metabolic, and endocrine milieu and also promotes insulin resistance. Within the growth-promoting, proinflammatory environment of the obese state, cross-talk between macrophages, adipocytes, and epithelial cells occurs via obesity-associated hormones, adipocytokines, and other mediators that may enhance cancer risk and progression. This paper synthesizes the evidence on key molecular mechanisms underlying the obesity-cancer link.