Adipocytokines and cancer

Physiol Res. 2006;55(3):233-44. Epub 2005 Oct 17.


Adipose tissue-produced hormones significantly affect the metabolism of lipids and carbohydrates as well as numerous other processes in human body. It is generally accepted that endocrine dysfunction of adipose tissue may represent one of the causal links between obesity and insulin resistance/diabetes. Epidemiological studies underlined that obesity represents a significant risk factor for the development of cancer, although the exact mechanism of this relationship remains to be determined. Multiple recent studies have indicated that some of adipose tissue-derived hormones may significantly influence the growth and proliferation of tumorous stroma and malignant cells within. Here we review current knowledge about possible relationship of leptin and adiponectin to the etiopathogenesis of different malignant tumors. Most of the studies indicated that while leptin may potentiate the growth of cancer cells in vitro, adiponectin appears to have an opposite effect. Further studies are necessary to decide whether obesity-induced endocrine dysfunction of adipose tissue can directly influence carcinogenesis in different tissues and organs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adiponectin / metabolism*
  • Adipose Tissue / metabolism*
  • Breast Neoplasms / etiology
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leptin / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Neoplasms / etiology
  • Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / etiology
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / metabolism


  • Adiponectin
  • Leptin