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Cells. 2019 Aug 8;8(8). pii: E857. doi: 10.3390/cells8080857.

The Effects of Adipocytes on the Regulation of Breast Cancer in the Tumor Microenvironment: An Update.

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Faculty of Biology, Hanoi National University of Education, Hanoi 100000, Vietnam.
School of Odonto Stomatology, Hanoi Medical University, Hanoi 100000, Vietnam.
Former address: Centre for Molecular Medicine Norway (NCMM), Nordic EMBL Partnership, University of Oslo and Oslo University Hospital, 0349 Oslo, Norway.
Department of Animal Science, College of Agriculture and Life Science, Chonnam National University, Gwangju 61186, Korea.
Institute of Orthopaedics and Trauma Surgery, Viet Duc Hospital, Hanoi 100000, Vietnam.
Department of Anatomy, University of Medicine Pham Ngoc Thach, Ho Chi Minh City 700000, Vietnam.
Department of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery, Cardiovascular Center, E Hospital, Hanoi 100000, Vietnam.
School of Medicine and Pharmacy, Vietnam National University, Hanoi 100000, Vietnam.
Department of Surgery, Hanoi Medical University, Hanoi 100000, Vietnam.
Center for Anesthesia and Surgical Intensive Care, Viet Duc Hospital, Hanoi 100000, Vietnam.
NTT Hi-tech Institute, Nguyen Tat Thanh University, 300A Nguyen Tat Thanh St., Ward 13, District 4, Ho Chi Minh City 700000, Vietnam.
AI Lab, Faculty of Information Technology, Ton Duc Thang University, Ho Chi Minh City 700000, Vietnam.
School of Odonto Stomatology, Hanoi Medical University, Hanoi 100000, Vietnam.
Institute of Cancer Research, Oslo University Hospital, 0310 Oslo, Norway.
Institute for Research and Development, Duy Tan University, Danang 550000, Vietnam.


Obesity is a global pandemic and it is well evident that obesity is associated with the development of many disorders including many cancer types. Breast cancer is one of that associated with a high mortality rate. Adipocytes, a major cellular component in adipose tissue, are dysfunctional during obesity and also known to promote breast cancer development both in vitro and in vivo. Dysfunctional adipocytes can release metabolic substrates, adipokines, and cytokines, which promote proliferation, progression, invasion, and migration of breast cancer cells. The secretion of adipocytes can alter gene expression profile, induce inflammation and hypoxia, as well as inhibit apoptosis. It is known that excessive free fatty acids, cholesterol, triglycerides, hormones, leptin, interleukins, and chemokines upregulate breast cancer development. Interestingly, adiponectin is the only adipokine that has anti-tumor properties. Moreover, adipocytes are also related to chemotherapeutic resistance, resulting in the poorer outcome of treatment and advanced stages in breast cancer. Evaluation of the adipocyte secretion levels in the circulation can be useful for prognosis and evaluation of the effectiveness of cancer therapy in the patients. Therefore, understanding about functions of adipocytes as well as obesity in breast cancer may reveal novel targets that support the development of new anti-tumor therapy. In this systemic review, we summarize and update the effects of secreted factors by adipocytes on the regulation of breast cancer in the tumor microenvironment.


adipocytes; adipokines; breast cancer; hormones; obesity; tumor microenvironment

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