Patients with metabolic syndrome (MetS) are at elevated risk of bladder cancer, according to a new study.

In a hospital-based case-control study, researchers led by Maurizio Montella, MD, of Istituto Tumori “Fondazione Pascale IRCCS,” Naples, Italy, compared 690 patients with incident urothelial carcinoma of the bladder (UCB) and 665 cancer-free matched control patients.

Dr. Montella’s team defined MetS as the presence of at least 3 of 4 selected indicators: abdominal obesity, hypercholesterolemia, hypertension, and diabetes.

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Patients with 3 components of MetS had a significant 2-fold increased risk of UCB compared with patients who had no components, the investigators reported online in BMC Cancer (2015;15:720). Patients with all 4 components had a nearly 8-fold increased risk. Overall, 8.1% of UCB cases were attributable to MetS, according to the researchers.

“Both the worldwide increasing MetS prevalence and the rising incidence of UCB suggest that each year a considerable fraction of this cancer is attributable to the MetS,” the authors concluded.

Additionally, study results showed that diabetes was associated with 2.2 times increased risk of UCB compared with the absence of diabetes. The presence of abdominal obesity was associated with a 1.6 times increased risk of UCB compared with its absence. Hypertension and hypercholesterolemia were not significantly associated with UCB risk, findings that are consistent with previous prospective studies, the researchers said.