EAST LANSING, Mich.Elevated leptina fat hormonealong with a higher body mass index (BMI) and a larger waistline in men is associated with a greater likelihood of having colorectal polyps, precancerous growths linked to colon cancer, according to a new study published in the journal PLOS ONE.
Michigan State University researchers studied 126 healthy American males to determine if BMI, waist circumference or adipokines are associated with colon polyps in males. Participants ranged from 48 to 65 years of age and showed no signs or symptoms of health issues, yet underwent routine colonoscopies.
What we found is 78% of the 126 men in the study were either overweight or obese based on their BMI or waist circumference. Of those, about 30% were found to have more than one polyp after colonoscopies were performed," said Jenifer Fenton, assistant professor and researcher in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition. In fact, the more obese participants were 6.5 times more likely to have three polyps compared to their thinner counterparts."
With obesity rates climbing in the United States and colon cancer being the second-leading killer of men and women in the nation, these facts compelled Fenton and her team to conduct research which could identify the specific biomarkers of obesity and early-stage colon cancer and help in prevention efforts.
Previous research published by Fenton in 2009 identified the connection between obesity and colon cancer through examining tissue hormones. These studies demonstrated that, at higher levels, leptin worked as a primary mechanism in inducing precancerous colon cells by increasing the blood supply to them and promoting their progression.
However, a 2009 study found a class of therapeutic agents found naturally in soy may prevent and possibly treat colon cancer.