Obesity, proinflammatory mediators, adipose tissue progenitors, and breast cancer

Francesco Bertolini, Stefania Orecchioni, Jean Yves Petit, Mikhail G. Kolonin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose of review: There is emerging evidence that obesity is associated with an increase in the incidence, severity, and mortality from different types of cancer, including postmenopausal breast cancer. Here, we discuss the role of white adipose tissue (WAT) cells and of related soluble factors in the local and metastatic growth of this neoplastic disease. Moreover, we discuss the recent increase in the use of WAT-derived progenitor cells in breast cancer patients to enhance the quality of breast reconstruction and the related risks. Recent findings: In several murine models, WAT cells and progenitors were found to have cooperative roles in promoting local breast cancer. Moreover, they were found to contribute to adipocytes and pericytes supporting the cancer vasculature, and stimulated the metastatic progression of breast cancer. There are some clinically retrospective data showing a significant increase in the frequency of intraepithelial neoplasia in patients who received a lipofilling procedure for breast reconstruction compared with controls. Summary: Preclinical models and clinical studies are urgently needed to investigate how to inhibit the tumor-promoting activity of WAT cells and progenitors. The risks associated with the use of WAT cells for breast reconstructions should be better investigated retrospectively and prospectively.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)545-550
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent Opinion in Oncology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Adipose tissue progenitors
  • Breast cancer
  • Obesity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology
  • Medicine(all)


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