Pro-inflammatory and tumour proliferative properties of excess visceral adipose tissue

Cancer Lett. 2011 Dec 15;312(1):62-72. doi: 10.1016/j.canlet.2011.07.034. Epub 2011 Aug 11.


Obesity has been associated with increased incidence and mortality of oesophageal and colorectal adenocarcinoma. Excess central adiposity may drive this association through an altered inflammatory milieu. Utilising a unique adipose tissue bioresource we aimed to determine the pro-tumour properties of visceral adipose tissue. Comparing subcutaneous and visceral adipose tissue depots, we observed significantly higher levels of VEGF and IL-6, along with significantly higher proportions of CD8(+) T cells and NKT cells in visceral adipose tissue. Significantly higher levels of VEGF were observed in the conditioned media from visceral adipose tissue of centrally obese compared to non-obese patients. We also report a significant increase in oesophageal and colorectal tumour cell proliferation following culture with conditioned media from visceral adipose tissue of centrally obese patients. Neutralising VEGF in the conditioned media significantly decreased tumour cell proliferation. This novel report highlights a potential mechanism whereby visceral adipose tissue from centrally obese cancer patients may drive tumour progression.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cell Growth Processes / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / pathology
  • Intra-Abdominal Fat / pathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Obesity / pathology*
  • Subcutaneous Fat / pathology*
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A / metabolism


  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A