Current Diabetes Reports

, Volume 13, Issue 2, pp 213–222 | Cite as

The Links Between Insulin Resistance, Diabetes, and Cancer

  • Etan Orgel
  • Steven D. MittelmanEmail author
Pathogenesis of Type 2 Diabetes and Insulin Resistance (RM Watanabe, Section Editor)


The growing epidemic of obesity has resulted in a large increase in multiple related diseases. Recent evidence has strengthened the proposed synergistic relationship between obesity-related insulin resistance (IR) and/or diabetes mellitus (DM) and cancer. Within the past year, many studies have examined this relationship. Although the precise mechanisms and pathways are uncertain, it is becoming clear that hyperinsulinemia and possibly sustained hyperglycemia are important regulators of not only the development of cancer but also of treatment outcome. Further, clinical decision-making regarding the treatment of choice for DM will likely be impacted as we learn more about the non-metabolic effects of the available hyperglycemic agents. In our review, we endeavored to synthesize the recent literature and provide a concise view of the journey from macro-level clinical associations to specific mechanistic relationships being elucidated in cell lines and animal models.


Apoptosis Caloric restriction Cancer Chemotherapy resistance Glargine Insulin Insulin resistance Metabolic syndrome Metformin Obesity Proliferation Diabetes 



No potential conflicts of interest relevant to this article were reported.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Jonathan Jaques Children’s Cancer Center, Keck School of MedicineUniversity of Southern California, Miller Children’s HospitalLong BeachUSA
  2. 2.Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Keck School of MedicineUniversity of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA

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