Ovarian cancer is a huge problem for those women unfortunate to get it. Traditionally few causes have been identified. Inheritance is a factor with the inherited BRCA 1 and 2 mutations, as well as others that are being identified. Talcum powder containing small amounts of asbestos are also implicated, as are infertility and endometriosis. Now from China comes a provocative study published online in Frontiers in Medicine, an open access journal. They looked at the incidence of ovarian cancer in China and world-wide and tried to identify additional risk factors. The big one that they came up with was hyperglycemia, or an elevated blood sugar. As the world-wide incidence of obesity has increased dramatically since 1990, the start date of the study, the incidence of ovarian cancer has skyrocketed as well. The authors acknowledge that obesity leads to insulin resistance and diabetes and then postulate that insulin acts as a growth factor to promote the development of cancer. Furthermore, they postulate that an elevated blood sugar harms the body’s ability to perform immune surveillance on newly developed tumors.
Dr. Stark weighs in: Curiously this important paper was published in an open access journal (no peer review). It is very important but perhaps the authors could not get funding for publication in a more conventional source. In any event it gives the general public one more reason to avoid obesity.