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Cancer Res. 2007 Mar 15;67(6):2391-3.

The obesity-cancer link: lessons learned from a fatless mouse.

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  • 1Division of Nutritional Sciences, University of Texas, Austin, Texas, USA.


Current dogma suggests that the positive correlation between obesity and cancer is driven by white adipose tissue that accompanies obesity, possibly through excess secretion of adipokines. Recent studies in fatless A-Zip/F1 mice, which have undetectable adipokine levels but display accelerated tumor formation, suggest that adipokines are not required for the enhanced tumor development. The A-Zip/F-1 mice are also diabetic and display elevated circulating levels of other factors frequently associated with obesity (insulin, insulin-like growth factor-1, and proinflammatory cytokines) and activation of several signaling pathways associated with carcinogenesis. In view of this information, the risk factors underlying the obesity-cancer link need to be revisited. We postulate that the pathways associated with insulin resistance and inflammation, rather than adipocyte-derived factors, may represent key prevention and therapeutic targets for disrupting the obesity-cancer link.

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