Obesity is a risk factor for postmenopausal breast cancer. Adiponectin/Acrp30 is lower in obese individuals and may be negatively regulating breast cancer growth. Here we determined that five breast cancer cell lines, MDA-MB-231, MDA-MB-361, MCF-7, T47D, and SK-BR-3, expressed one or both of the Acrp30 receptors. In addition, we found that the addition of Acrp30 to MCF-7, T47D, and SK-BR-3 cell lines inhibited growth. Oestrogen receptor (ER) positive MCF-7 and T47D cells were inhibited at lower Acrp30 concentrations than ER-negative SK-BR-3 cells. Growth inhibition may be related to apoptosis since PARP cleavage was increased by Acrp30 in the ER-positive cell lines. To investigate the role of ER in the response of breast cancer cells to Acrp30, we established the MDA-ERalpha7 cell line by insertion of ER-alpha into ER-alpha-negative MDA-MB-231 cells. This line readily formed tumours in athymic mice and was responsive to oestradiol in vivo. In vitro, MDA-ERalpha7 cells were growth inhibited by globular Acrp30 while the parental cells were not. This inhibition appeared to be due to blockage of JNK2 signalling. These results provide information on how obesity may influence breast cancer cell proliferation and establish a new model to examine interactions between ER and Acrp30.