Among the many different cell types surrounding breast cancer cells, the most abundant are those that compose mammary adipose tissue, mainly mature adipocytes and progenitors. New accumulating recent evidences bring the tumor-surrounding adipose tissue into the light as a key component of breast cancer progression. The purpose of this review is to emphasize the role that adipose tissue might play by locally affecting breast cancer cell behavior and subsequent clinical consequences arising from this dialog. Two particular clinical aspects are addressed: obesity that was identified as an independent negative prognostic factor in breast cancer and the oncological safety of autologous fat transfer used in reconstructive surgery for breast cancer patients. This is preceded by the overall description of adipose tissue composition and function with special emphasis on the specificity of adipose depots and the species differences, key experimental aspects that need to be taken in account when cancer is considered.
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