Elderly women in the United States who have metabolic syndrome and its related factors face an increased risk of endometrial cancer, according to an analysis of Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER)–Medicare data.

Researchers from the National Cancer Institute evaluated data from 16,323 women aged 65 years and older in the SEER database who were diagnosed with endometrial cancer from 1997 through 2007, as well as a sample of 100,751 Medicare enrollees (controls) who lived in the same SEER registry area as the cases. Endometrial cancer was found associated with metabolic syndrome (odds ratio, 1.39; 95% CI 1.32-1.47) and several component factors, reported Britton Trabert, Ph.D. , and associates at the National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Md. Of the component factors of metabolic syndrome, being overweight conferred the greatest risk (OR, 1.95; 95% CI 1.80-2.11), followed by impaired fasting glucose (OR, 1.36; 95% CI 1.30-1.43), high blood pressure (OR, 1.31; 95% CI 1.25-1.36), and high triglycerides (OR, 1.13; 95% CI 1.08-1.18).

“Adjusting for overweight/obesity did not substantively attenuate risk estimates for the other metabolic component factors evaluated in the current study or in other study populations,” Dr. Trabert and her associates said (Canc. Epidem., Biomarkers and Prev. 2015 Jan. 13 [doi:10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-14-0923]).

The investigators also evaluated the associations with risk factors by subtype, including low grade (grade 1 and 2) endometrioid, high-grade (grade 3) endometrioid, adenocarcinoma, mucinous, serous, clear cell, carcinosarcoma, sarcoma, and “other” endometrial cancer subtypes. Metabolic syndrome was associated with increased risk for all endometrial cancer subtypes except for carcinosarcomas (OR, 1.14; 95% CI 0.94-1.38) and sarcomas (OR, 1.34; 95%CI 0.94-1.92).

“The results of this population-based study indicated that metabolic syndrome is a significant risk factor for endometrial cancer with consistent associations across endometrial cancer subtypes,” Dr. Trabert and her associates concluded.

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