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Metabolic syndrome and breast cancer: Is there a cause-and-effect relationship?

1 Departments of Radiation Oncology, Christian Medical College and Hospital, Ludhiana, Punjab, India
2 Departments of Endocrinology, Christian Medical College and Hospital, Ludhiana, Punjab, India

Correspondence Address:
Preety Negi,
Departments of Radiation Oncology, Christian Medical College and Hospital, Ludhiana, Punjab
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jrcr.jrcr_43_22

Background: Metabolic syndrome (MetS) has an important role in the development as well as the progression of breast cancer (BC). This syndrome is defined as having three or more central obesity, hypertension, insulin resistance, low low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and high triglycerides (TGs). Multiple studies have demonstrated that early recognition of MetS may have a positive impact on decreasing BC incidence. We compared the prevalence of MetS in newly diagnosed carcinoma breast patients with controls in the general population and thereby provide insight into its role as an emerging risk factor for BC. Patients and Methods: A prospective, case–control study was conducted at Christian Medical College and Hospital, Ludhiana, between September 2018 and October 2019. One hundred and four subjects each of BC and age-matched controls were enrolled. The measurement of waist circumference (WC), blood pressure (BP), fasting blood glucose levels, and lipid profile was performed for women with newly diagnosed BC and controls. Results: MetS was significantly more prevalent among BC (65.4%) compared to controls (30.8%). On assessing each component of MetS, it was evident that the prevalence of WC and BP, as well as the metabolic parameters, namely fasting blood sugar, TGs, and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, was higher in Group A as compared to Group B. The majority of the women with BC and MetS were postmenopausal. The majority (66.2%) of BC patients with MetS were receptor positive. Conclusions: This study unveils a hidden link between MetS and BC, and hence, BC awareness programs should stress the need for lifestyle changes and healthy living to nip this evil in the bud. Opportunistic screening should be undertaken for women presenting to the medical facility with MetS. Future studies are required to design effective strategies to raise the possibility of MetS as an established risk factor in BC.

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