Adiponectin is a protein hormone that regulates the metabolism of lipids and glucose.
Even though many preclinical studies showed its cardiometabolic benefits, recent
researches reveal that it can lead to cancer or cancer-related deaths especially in
people with diabetes. Epidemiological studies now show that a higher concentration
of circulating adiponectin is one of the reasons for incident cardiovascular events,
renal outcomes, and mortality in subjects with diabetes.
A study published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism investigated
prospectively the association between circulating adiponectin and incident cancer in
a cohort of patients with type 2 diabetes exclusively. Baseline serum adiponectin
was measured in 5658 patients recruited from the Hong Kong West Diabetes Registry
and examined the association of adiponectin concentrations with incident cancer and
cancer-related deaths using multivariable Cox regression analysis.
The study results show that over a median follow-up of 6.5 years, 396 participants
(7.53%) developed cancer, for a cumulative incidence of 11.6 per 1,000 person-years.
Researchers observed 170 cancer-related deaths (3%), for a cumulative incidence of
4.57 per 1,000 person-years. They found that adiponectin concentrations were higher
among those who had incident cancer compared with those who did not develop cancer
(mean, 9.8 µg/mL vs. 9.1 µg/mL; P < .001). Similarly, adiponectin concentrations
were higher among participants who died from cancer-related causes compared to those
who did not develop cancer (mean, 11.5 µg/mL vs. 9.3 µg/mL; P < .001). Cox regression
analyses revealed that serum adiponectin concentration was independently associated
with incident cancer (HR = 1.19; 95% CI, 1.05-1.35) after adjustment for sex, BMI,
hypertension, CVD, albuminuria, metformin use, LDL cholesterol level and estimated
glomerular filtration rate at baseline. All these findings point to the fact that
increased level of circulating adiponectin will increase the risk of occurrence of
cancer or cancer-related deaths in patients with type 2 diabetes.
As per the words of Karen Lam, the principal investigator of the study “whatever the
underlying mechanism, our study suggested that an elevated circulating adiponectin
concentration could be a risk marker of incident cancer in type 2 diabetes”.
Also, these findings can help researchers to better understand whether participants who are seeking weight loss are at risk of overeating and can contribute to the development of treatments that prevent overeating and facilitate weight loss.
The study was published January 2020 in Health Psychology.