Insulin levels, exercise affect breast cancer survival
Dec 7, 2010
Breast cancer patients who have elevated levels of insulin face significantly higher mortality rates than their peers with lower levels, according to a new study by researchers at Yale School of Public Health.
The study's lead author, Melinda L. Irwin, believes that treatment strategies that include dietary weight loss, increased physical activity and insulin-lowering medications should be further examined in breast cancer treatment.
"There is growing evidence that weight and physical activity affect breast cancer outcomes, and our findings suggest that the mechanism linking lifestyle factors and breast cancer may be the insulin pathway," said Irwin.
The research is published in this month's Journal of Clinical Oncology. A separate research paper by Irwin, which appears in the same journal, found that overweight and obese breast cancer patients have lower levels of a crucial hormone called adiponectin, which regulates several vital metabolic processes, and in turn decreases their chances for survival.
Irwin is currently recruiting women being treated for breast cancer into weight loss and exercise trials to expand on her research into adiponectin and insulin levels.
According to the American Cancer Society, there are 2.5 million breast cancer survivors in the United States.