BACKGROUND AND AIMS:Obesity is predictive of metabolic syndrome (metS), type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular (CV) disease and cancer. The aim of the study is to assess the risk of incident cancer connected to obesity and metS in a Mediterranean population characterized by a high prevalence of obesity.METHODS AND RESULTS:As many as 1133 subjects were enrolled in two phases and followed for 25 years (859 subjects) or 11 years (274 subjects) and incident cancer was registered in the follow-up period. Anthropometric measures and biochemical parameters were filed at baseline and evaluated as predictors of incident cancer by measuring hazards ratios (HR) using multivariate Cox parametric hazards models. Best predictive threshold for metabolic parameters and metS criteria were recalculated by ROC analysis. Fasting Blood Glucose >5.19 mmol/L [HR = 1.58 (1.0-2.4)] and the TG/HDL ratio (log10) (Males > 0.225, Females > 0.272) [HR = 2.44 (1.3-4.4)] resulted independent predictors of survival free of cancer with a clear additive effect together with age classes [45-65 years, HR = 2.47 (1.3-4.4), 65-75 years HR = 3.80 (2.0-7.1)] and male gender [HR = 2.07 (2.3-3.1)].CONCLUSIONS:Metabolic disturbances are predictive of cancer in a 25 years follow-up of a Mediterranean population following a traditional Mediterranean diet. The high prevalence of obesity and metS and the observed underlying condition of insulin resistance expose this population to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer despite the healthy nutritional habits.