Stem cells from adipose tissue and breast cancer: Hype, risks and hope

F. Bertolini, J. Y. Petit, M. G. Kolonin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Several recent papers have generated new hope about the use of white adipose tissue (WAT)-derived progenitor cells for soft tissue reconstruction in a variety of diseases including breast cancer (BC), a procedure that is increasingly used worldwide. We revised the available literature about WAT cells and BC. In the BC field, we believe that the hype for the exciting results in terms of WAT progenitor cell engraftment and tissue augmentation should be tempered when considering the recent and abundant preclinical studies, indicating that WAT progenitors may promote BC growth and metastasis. White adipose tissue progenitors can contribute to tumour vessels, pericytes and adipocytes, and were found to stimulate local and metastatic BC progression in several murine models. Moreover, there are clinical retrospective data showing a significant increase in the local recurrence frequency in patients with intraepithelial neoplasia who received a lipofilling procedure for breast reconstruction compared with controls. Retrospective and prospective clinical trials are warranted to investigate in depth the safety of this procedure in BC. Preclinical models should be used to find mechanisms able to inhibit the tumour-promoting activity of WAT progenitors while sparing their tissue reconstruction potential.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)419-423
Number of pages5
JournalBritish Journal of Cancer
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Feb 3 2015


  • adipose progenitors
  • adipose tissue
  • breast cancer
  • breast reconstruction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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