Emerging Concepts Linking Obesity with the Hallmarks of Cancer

Trends Endocrinol Metab. 2017 Jan;28(1):46-62. doi: 10.1016/j.tem.2016.08.004. Epub 2016 Sep 12.


There is compelling epidemiological evidence linking obesity to many tumours; however, the molecular mechanisms fuelling this association are not clearly understood. Emerging evidence links changes in the tumour microenvironment with the obese state, and murine and human studies highlight the relevance of adipose stromal cells (ASCs), including immune cells, both at remote fat depots, such as the omentum, as well as in peritumoural tissue. These obesity-associated changes have been implicated in several hallmarks of cancer, including the chronic inflammatory state and associated cell signalling, epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT), tumour-related fibrosis, angiogenesis, and genomic instability. Here, we present a summary of developments over the past 5 years, with particular focus on the tumour microenvironment in the obese state.

Keywords: cancer; cellular instability; inflammation; microenvironment; obesity.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adipocytes / metabolism
  • Adipose Tissue / cytology
  • Adipose Tissue / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition / genetics
  • Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition / physiology
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Neoplasms / genetics
  • Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic
  • Obesity / genetics
  • Obesity / metabolism*