CausesBy Mayo Clinic staff
Acanthosis nigricans has been associated with:
- Insulin resistance. Most people who have acanthosis nigricans have also become resistant to insulin, a hormone secreted by the pancreas that allows your body to process sugar. Insulin resistance is what eventually causes type 2 diabetes.
- Obesity. Most people who develop acanthosis nigricans are overweight or obese, which is a strong risk factor for developing insulin resistance.
- Hormonal disorders. Acanthosis nigricans often occurs in people who have disorders such as ovarian cysts, underactive thyroids or problems with the adrenal glands.
- Certain drugs. Medications such as oral contraceptives and corticosteroids, such as prednisone, may cause acanthosis nigricans — as can high doses of niacin.
- Cancer. Acanthosis nigricans also sometimes occurs when a cancerous tumor begins growing in an internal organ, such as the stomach, colon or liver.
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