Diet-induced obesity potentiates the growth of gastric cancer in mice

Exp Ther Med. 2012 Oct;4(4):615-620. doi: 10.3892/etm.2012.657. Epub 2012 Aug 7.


Obesity increases the risk of gastric cancer and may affect its development and progression, however, the mechanisms underlying this association are completely unknown. The purpose of the current study was to investigate the effect of obesity on gastric cancer growth by adopting a novel in vivo model. Diet-induced obese and lean mice were inoculated with murine forestomach carcinoma cells, and studied for 2 weeks. Tumor histology, cellular proliferation and apoptosis were evaluated. Serum glucose, insulin, visfatin levels and peripheral CD3(+), CD4(+/-), CD8(+/-) lymphocytes were assayed. All mice were alive and developed no metastasis, a greater number of obese mice developed palpable tumors than lean mice. The tumors from obese mice had a larger volume, greater intratumoral adipocyte mass, and exhibited a higher proliferation and reduced apoptosis rate compared to those of lean animals. Both serum insulin and visfatin concentrations correlated positively with tumor proliferation and negatively with tumor apoptosis. Obese mice had a significantly lower level of CD3(+), CD3(+)CD4(+) T lymphocytes, and a lower level of CD4(+)/CD8(+) in peripheral blood compared to these lymphocyte levels in the lean mice. In conclusion, the altered adipocytokine milieu and insulin resistance observed in obesity may lead directly to alterations in the tumor microenvironment and cell immunity for avoiding cancer, thereby, promoting gastric cancer survival and growth.