Although obesity is known as a risk factor for several human cancers, the association of obesity with cancer recurrence and metastasis remains to be characterized. Here, B16-BL6 melanoma and Lewis lung carcinoma cells were intravenously injected into diabetic (db/db) and obese (ob/ob) mice. The number of experimental lung colonies was markedly promoted in these mice when compared with C57BL/6 mice. In contrast, tumor growth at the implanted site was comparable when cells were inoculated orthotopically. The use of B16-BL6 cells stably transfected with the luciferase gene revealed that the increased metastasis reflected a difference mainly within 6 hr after the intravenous inoculation of tumor cells. Administration of recombinant leptin in ob/ob mice abolished the increase in metastasis early on as well as the decrease in the splenic NK cell number. In addition, depletion of NK cells by an anti-asialo-GM1 antibody abrogated the enhanced metastasis in db/db mice. These results demonstrate that metastasis is markedly promoted in diabetic and obese mice mainly because of decreased NK cell function during the early phase of metastasis.
Copyright 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.