Obesity and cancer: The role of dysfunctional adipose tissue

Rob C.M. Van Kruijsdijk, Elsken Van Der Wall, Frank L.J. Visseren

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

477 Scopus citations


Overweight and obesity are health problems of epidemic proportions, increasing the risk not only of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes mellitus but also of various types of cancer. Obesity is strongly associated with changes in the physiological function of adipose tissue, leading to insulin resistance, chronic inflammation, and altered secretion of adipokines. Several of these factors, such as insulin resistance, increased levels of leptin, plasminogen activator inhibitor-1, and endogenous sex steroids, decreased levels of adiponectin, and chronic inflammation, are involved in carcinogenesis and cancer progression. This article reviews these mechanisms, focusing on adipose tissue dysfunction as a unifying causal factor. Although understanding of the link between obesity and cancer might provide therapeutic targets, preventing overweight and obesity still remains number one priority.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2569-2578
Number of pages10
JournalCancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Oncology


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