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Cytokine Growth Factor Rev. 2009 Jun;20(3):193-201. doi: 10.1016/j.cytogfr.2009.05.007. Epub 2009 Jun 10.

Angiogenesis, adipokines and breast cancer.

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  • 1Department of Surgery and Breast Cancer Research Program, Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center, West Virginia University, Morgantown, United States.


The prevalence of overweight and obesity is rapidly increasing world wide. Numerous epidemiological studies have shown that obesity is a risk factor for postmenopausal breast cancer and relapse. However, the biological factors that drive the growth and progression of these tumors and how obesity contributes to the tumor microenvironment are poorly understood. Tumor development and metastasis are dependent on the process of angiogenesis or the formation of new blood vessels. More importantly, a ready supply of adipose tissue-derived angiogenic adipokines, notably VEGF and leptin, and the production of inflammatory cytokines by infiltrating macrophages that occurs in adipose tissues with obesity, promotes the paracrine stimulation of vascular endothelial cell growth needed for adipogenesis, while maintaining a microenvironment that is favorable for breast tumorigenesis.

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