Association of insulin resistance with breast, ovarian, endometrial and cervical cancers in non-diabetic women

Wanwan Sun, Jieli Lu, Shengli Wu, Yufang Bi, Yiming Mu, Jiajun Zhao, Chao Liu, Lulu Chen, Lixin Shi, Qiang Li, Tao Yang, Li Yan, Qin Wan, Yan Liu, Guixia Wang, Zuojie Luo, Xulei Tang, Gang Chen, Yanan Huo, Zhengnan GaoQing Su, Zhen Ye, Youmin Wang, Guijun Qin, Huacong Deng, Xuefeng Yu, Feixia Shen, Li Chen, Liebin Zhao, Tiange Wang, Jichao Sun, Min Xu, Yu Xu, Yuhong Chen, Meng Dai, Jie Zhang, Di Zhang, Shenghan Lai, Donghui Li, Guang Ning, Weiqing Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Hyperinsulinemia and insulin resistance were reported to play a crucial role in diabetes-cancer relationship. This study aimed to explore the associations between insulin resistance and several female cancers in a non-diabetic population. This cross-sectional study was conducted in 121,230 middle-aged and elderly non-diabetic women. Cancer diagnosis was self-reported and further validated by medical records. Insulin resistance was defined as homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) ≥ 2.50. The prevalence of both premenopausal and postmenopausal breast cancer, postmenopausal ovarian cancer and premenopausal endometrial cancer were higher in insulin-resistant participants than in insulin-sensitive participants (premenopausal breast cancer, 0.45 vs 0.28%; postmenopausal breast cancer, 0.86 vs 0.63%; postmenopausal ovarian cancer, 0.17 vs 0.09%; premenopausal endometrial cancer, 0.43 vs 0.25%, respectively, all P < 0.05). Individuals with insulin resistance had higher odds ratio (OR) of breast cancer, both premenopausal and postmenopausal (OR 1.98, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.19-3.32; OR 1.29, 95% CI 1.01-1.63), postmenopausal ovarian cancer (OR 2.17, 95% CI 1.10-3.40) as well as total endometrial cancer (OR 1.47, 95% CI 1.02-2.12). Subgroup analysis revealed that the possitive association between insulin resistance and risk of prevalent breast cancer was observed in popualtion with younger age, overweight or obesity, higher education and impaired glucose tolerance (IGR). No relationships were observed for the risk of prevalent cervical cancers with insulin resistance. Non-diabetic women with insulin resistance had higher risk of prevalent breast, ovarian and endomatrial cancer, which suggests special attentions to these female cancer screening and prevention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2334-2344
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Journal of Cancer Research
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2016


  • Breast
  • Endometrial and cervical cancers
  • Insulin resistance
  • Non-diabetic
  • Ovarian

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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