Molecular targeting of obesity pathways in cancer

Horm Mol Biol Clin Investig. 2015 May;22(2):53-62. doi: 10.1515/hmbci-2015-0007.


Obesity is a significant risk factor for the development of different cancer types and has been associated with poorer response to oncotherapies and linked to earlier recurrence of the neoplastic disease. While molecular mechanisms of these associations are still under investigation, functional dysregulation of two major fat tissue-derived adipokines, leptin and adiponectin, appears to play an important role. Leptin is known to activate carcinogenic pathways, while adiponectin appears to exert antineoplastic activities and interfere with leptin-induced processes. Because excess body fat is associated with increased leptin expression and adiponectin downregulation, therapeutic rebalancing of these pathways may benefit cancer patients, especially the obese subpopulations. This review focuses on our novel leptin receptor antagonists and adiponectin receptor agonists designed for therapeutic modulation of obesity-associated pathways in cancer.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adiponectin / chemistry
  • Adiponectin / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Biomimetics
  • Humans
  • Leptin / chemistry
  • Leptin / metabolism
  • Metabolic Networks and Pathways / drug effects*
  • Molecular Targeted Therapy*
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / metabolism*
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Obesity / metabolism*
  • Peptides / pharmacology
  • Peptides / therapeutic use
  • Receptors, Adiponectin / agonists
  • Receptors, Adiponectin / metabolism
  • Receptors, Leptin / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Receptors, Leptin / metabolism


  • Adiponectin
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Leptin
  • Peptides
  • Receptors, Adiponectin
  • Receptors, Leptin