Breast Cancer Research and Treatment

, Volume 114, Issue 3, pp 517–525 | Cite as

High insulin levels in newly diagnosed breast cancer patients reflect underlying insulin resistance and are associated with components of the insulin resistance syndrome

  • Pamela J. GoodwinEmail author
  • Marguerite Ennis
  • Mala Bahl
  • I. George Fantus
  • Kathleen I. Pritchard
  • Maureen E. Trudeau
  • Jarley Koo
  • Nicky Hood


Background High insulin levels have been associated with poor outcomes in breast cancer. Our goal was to investigate whether hyperinsulinemia was associated with insulin resistance in a cohort of newly diagnosed locoregional breast cancer patients and to examine associations of hyperinsulinemia with the broader insulin resistance syndrome (IRS). Methods Five hundred and four women with T1-3, N0-1, M0 breast cancer provided fasting blood that was analyzed for glucose, insulin and lipids. They underwent anthropomorphic measurements and provided information on diet, exercise and sleep. Relationships of insulin with three validated indices of insulin resistance and with attributes of the IRS were examined. Results High insulin levels were strongly correlated with insulin resistance calculated using the three indices of insulin resistance/sensitivity (Spearman r = 0.83–0.98). Hyperinsulinemia was also associated with other components of the IRS (obesity, high waist–hip ratio, lipid profile). Conclusions High insulin levels in women with locoregional breast cancer reflect the presence of insulin resistance and are associated with other components of the IRS. These observations have implications for the development of therapies that target hyperinsulinemia in early stage breast cancer and for the long-term management of breast cancer survivors.


Breast cancer Insulin Insulin resistance Obesity 



This research was funded by the Canadian Breast Cancer Research Alliance and the Medical Research Council of Canada (currently the Canadian Institutes of Health Research).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pamela J. Goodwin
    • 1
    Email author
  • Marguerite Ennis
    • 2
  • Mala Bahl
    • 3
  • I. George Fantus
    • 4
  • Kathleen I. Pritchard
    • 5
  • Maureen E. Trudeau
    • 5
  • Jarley Koo
    • 6
  • Nicky Hood
    • 7
  1. 1.Department of Medicine, Division of Clinical Epidemiology at the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute, Mount Sinai HospitalUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  2. 2.University of TorontoMarkhamCanada
  3. 3.Department of Medical OncologyGrand River Regional Cancer CenterKitchenerCanada
  4. 4.Department of Medicine and Physiology, Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute at Mount Sinai HospitalUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  5. 5.Department of Medical Oncology, Odette Cancer Center at Sunnybrook Health Sciences CenterUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  6. 6.Department of Surgery, St. Michael’s HospitalUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  7. 7.Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute at Mount Sinai HospitalTorontoCanada

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