Interaction between breast cancer cells and adipose tissue cells derived from fat grafting

Michela Massa, Simona Gasparini, Ilaria Baldelli, Linda Scarabelli, Pierluigi Santi, Rodolfo Quarto, Erica Repaci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Adipose tissue transplantation has the benefit of providing both regenerative and aesthetic outcomes in breast cancer treatment. However, the transplanted tissue can stimulate the growth of residual cancer cells. Objectives: The aim of this study is to identify the interactions between adipose tissue cell subpopulations and human cancer cell lines. Methods: Intact adipose tissue from lipofilling procedures as well as fibroblasts derived from adipose tissue, were cocultured in the presence of MDAMB-231, MCF-7 e ZR-75-1 breast cancer cell lines. The influence on cancer cell lines of fibroblasts, induced to differentiate into specific adipocytes, was also assayed. Results: All cancer cell lines displayed a significant increase in proliferation rate when cocultured in the presence of either intact adipose tissue or induced adipocytes. To a lesser extent, uninduced fibroblasts stimulate breast cancer cell proliferation. Conclusions: Recent studies have shown that the microenvironment surrounding breast cancer cells may stimulate growth and promote progression of residual cancer cells when surgery is performed on the main tumor mass. Accordingly, the graft of adipose tissue could potentially promote or accelerate the development of a subclinical tumor or support its locoregional recurrence. Our data suggest that adipocytes have a remarkable influence on the proliferation of cancer cell lines. The oncological safety of the lipofilling procedure outcome is still debated; thus, further studies and consistent follow-up examination are needed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)358-363
Number of pages6
JournalAesthetic Surgery Journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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