Obesity and Cancer Metabolism: A Perspective on Interacting Tumor-Intrinsic and Extrinsic Factors

Front Oncol. 2017 Sep 14;7:216. doi: 10.3389/fonc.2017.00216. eCollection 2017.


Obesity is associated with increased risk and poor prognosis of many types of cancers. Several obesity-related host factors involved in systemic metabolism can influence tumor initiation, progression, and/or response to therapy, and these have been implicated as key contributors to the complex effects of obesity on cancer incidence and outcomes. Such host factors include systemic metabolic regulators including insulin, insulin-like growth factor 1, adipokines, inflammation-related molecules, and steroid hormones, as well as the cellular and structural components of the tumor microenvironment, particularly adipose tissue. These secreted and structural host factors are extrinsic to, and interact with, the intrinsic metabolic characteristics of cancer cells to influence their growth and spread. This review will focus on the interplay of these tumor cell-intrinsic and extrinsic factors in the context of energy balance, with the objective of identifying new intervention targets for preventing obesity-associated cancer.

Keywords: autophagy; calorie restriction; cancer; cancer metabolism; growth factors; inflammation; obesity.

Publication types

  • Review