First it was chemotherapy. Then came targeted therapies. Now, immunotherapies are all the rage. Did you know that each of these therapeutic approaches is negatively impacted by obesity and metabolic dysfunction?
The next major advancement in cancer treatment is metabo-oncology, the area of research dedicated to understanding and treating cancer patients with obesity and metabolic dysfunction. This common co-morbidity centers on hyperadiposity (visceral fat) and metabolic dysfunction (e.g. insulin resistance, high leptin levels and chronic inflammation) which accelerate cancer growth and metastasis and protect cancer cells from immunosurveillance and many forms of treatment.
“Obesity is associated with worsened prognosis after cancer diagnosis and also negatively affects the delivery of systemic therapy, contributes to morbidity of cancer treatment, and may raise the risk of second malignancies and comorbidities.”
Within the scientific and medical communities, there’s growing consensus that the key factors driving tumor growth and metastasis are:
Research has shown a link between metabolic dysfunction and worse outcomes for at least 10 types of cancer:
These “metabolically sensitive” tumors constitute a significant percentage of all cancer cases in the United States, yet receive no special treatment. Furthermore, these patients have higher cancer mortality rates than their metabolically normal counterparts — as many as 84,000 cancer diagnoses each year are attributed to obesity, and overweight and obesity are implicated in 15% to 20% of total cancer-related deaths.
With an aging population and increasing obesity rates, the metabo-oncology problem is becoming more and more urgent. It’s time for action.