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Revista médica de Chile

versión impresa ISSN 0034-9887


SANCHEZ R, César; IBANEZ, Carolina  y  KLAASSEN, Julieta. The link between obesity and cancer. Rev. méd. Chile [online]. 2014, vol.142, n.2, pp.211-221. ISSN 0034-9887.

While some genetic factors may explain the development of cancer, its main causes are related to environmental exposure to carcinogenic agents as well as to the effect of determined lifestyles and habits. Several epidemiological studies have shown a consistent relation between obesity and cancer. In non smokers, obesity is the most relevant risk factor in the development of malignant tumors. There is a clear association between obesity and endometrial cancer, breast cancer in postmenopausal women, pancreatic, esophageal and colon cancer. Sexual steroids, insulin like growth factor axis and adipokines are the three main models to explain the biological basis for the obesity-cancer relationship. However, these models do not explain all the biological mechanisms that link obesity to cancer. There are other factors in play such as chronic inflammation, hypoxia and oxidative stress. Obesity may hamper the screening, diagnosis and treatment of some tumors, increasing mortality rates. Obesity prevention and management, therefore, may be the most important modifiable factor in reducing both incidence and mortality in cancer. New studies are required to quantify the effect of intentional weight reduction on the incidence and relapse of cancer. Considering the efficacy of bariatric surgery for weight reduction, it is an attractive model to study this link.

Palabras clave : Bariatric surgery; Neoplasms; second primary; Obesity.

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