Visceral Fat Area and Markers of Insulin Resistance in Relation to Colorectal Neoplasia

  1. Shuichiro Yamamoto, MD1,
  2. Toru Nakagawa, MD1,
  3. Yumi Matsushita, MD, PHD2,
  4. Suzushi Kusano, MD1,
  5. Takeshi Hayashi, MD1,
  6. Masataka Irokawa, MD1,
  7. Takatoshi Aoki, MD3,
  8. Yukunori Korogi, MD3 and
  9. Tetsuya Mizoue, MD, PHD2
  1. 1Hitachi Health Care Center, Hitachi, Ibaraki, Japan;
  2. 2Department of Epidemiology and International Health, Research Institute, International Medical Center of Japan, Tokyo, Japan;
  3. 3Department of Radiology, University of Occupational and Environmental Health, Fukuoka, Japan.
  1. Corresponding author: Shuichiro Yamamoto,{at}


OBJECTIVE Although abdominal obesity and related metabolic abnormalities are hypothesized to promote colorectal carcinogenesis, direct confirmation of this effect is required. Here, we examined the relation of early-stage colorectal neoplasia to visceral fat area and markers of insulin resistance.

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS Subjects were participants in a comprehensive health screening conducted at the Hitachi Health Care Center, Ibaraki, Japan. During a 3-year period (2004–2007), a total of 108 patients with early-stage colorectal neoplasia, including 22 with early cancer, were identified among individuals who received both colorectal cancer screening and abdominal computed tomography scanning. Three control subjects matched to each case subject were randomly selected from those whose screening results were negative. Conditional logistic regression analysis was used to examine the association of measures of obesity and markers of insulin resistance with colorectal neoplasia, with adjustment for smoking and alcohol drinking.

RESULTS Visceral fat area, but not subcutaneous fat area, was significantly positively associated with colorectal cancer, with odds ratios (95% CI) for the lowest to highest tertile of visceral fat area of 1 (reference), 2.17 (0.45–10.46), and 5.92 (1.22–28.65), respectively (Ptrend = 0.02). Markers of insulin resistance, particularly fasting glucose, were also positively associated with colorectal cancer risk. In contrast, no associations were observed for colorectal adenomas.

CONCLUSIONS These results suggest that visceral adipose tissue accumulation and insulin resistance may promote the development of early-stage cancer but not adenoma in the colorectum.


  • The costs of publication of this article were defrayed in part by the payment of page charges. This article must therefore be hereby marked “advertisement” in accordance with 18 U.S.C. Section 1734 solely to indicate this fact.

    • Received July 1, 2009.
    • Accepted October 4, 2009.
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  1. Diabetes Care vol. 33 no. 1 184-189
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