Introduction: The consensus report issued jointly by the American Diabetes Association and the American Cancer Society stated that “type 2 diabetes and cancer share many risk factors, but potential biologic links between the two diseases are incompletely understood”. Interestingly, however, a recent report suggested that the expression of p27(Kip1), a cell cycle repressor protein, in the rodent liver was inversely associated with potential carcinogenic risk in the genetic rodent models of diabetic obesity. p27 is a cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor that, when down-regulated, allows the progression of the cell cycle from G1 to S phase, thereby increasing the risk of developing cancer. Objective: The objective of the study described below was to extend the results of the recent report on the expression of p27 in the livers of obese, diabetic rodents to the humans and investigate whether the expression of p27 in the human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) might also be inversely associated with potential carcinogenic risk in obese type 2 diabetic individuals relative to the lean normal controls. Methods: Western immunoblot analysis was performed to evaluate the expression of p27 and the two most relevant upstream molecular signaling pathways of the expression of p27, namely 4E-BP1 and MNK1, in human PBMCs obtained from obese type 2 diabetic individuals relative to the lean normal controls. Results: First, expression of p27 in human PBMCs was significantly down-regulated in obese type 2 diabetic individuals relative to the lean normal controls. Secondly, expression of p27 in human PBMCs was also significantly down-regulated in obese type 2 diabetic African Americans relative even to the obese type 2 diabetic Caucasian Americans. Conclusions: Expression of p27 in human PBMCs was inversely associated with potential carcinogenic risk in obese type 2 diabetes relative to the lean normal controls.
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