Molecular mechanisms of leptin and adiponectin in breast cancer

Eur J Cancer. 2011 Jan;47(1):33-43. doi: 10.1016/j.ejca.2010.09.005.


Obesity is associated with an increased risk of breast cancer in postmenopausal women. Accumulating evidence suggests that adipose tissue, which is an endocrine organ producing a large range of factors, may interfere with breast cancer development. Leptin and adiponectin are two major adipocyte-secreted hormones. The pro-carcinogenic effect of leptin and conversely, the anti-carcinogenic effect of adiponectin result from two main mechanisms: a modulation in the signalling pathways involved in proliferation process and a subtle regulation of the apoptotic response. This review provides insight into recent findings on the molecular mechanisms of leptin and adiponectin in mammary tumours, and discusses the potential interplay between these two adipokines in breast cancer.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adiponectin / pharmacology
  • Adiponectin / physiology*
  • Adipose Tissue / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Breast Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Cell Communication / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leptin / pharmacology
  • Leptin / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Obesity / complications*
  • Receptors, Leptin / physiology
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Adiponectin
  • Leptin
  • Receptors, Leptin