Cancer treatment could be boosted by the news that there is a link between metabolic syndrome and breast cancer in postmenopausal women.
Scientists have suggested that the increased risk of breast cancer could be explained by the activity of hormones such as insulin, estrogen, cytokines and growth factors.
Metabolic syndrome is thought to affect nearly 50 million US citizens and is characterised by the prevalence of a sedentary lifestyle of lack of exercise and poor diet.
High levels of insulin and elevated blood pressure are also features of the condition.
Dr Geoffrey Kabat, senior epidemiologist in the department of epidemiology and population health at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, commented: "This study suggests that having the metabolic syndrome itself or some of its components may increase a woman's risk of postmenopausal breast cancer.
"However, much more work is needed to understand the role of these metabolic factors and their interplay with better established breast cancer risk factors, such as reproductive and hormonal factors."
Factors instrumental in the development of metabolic syndrome are genetics, weight gain, lifestyle and ageing.