Epinephrine Infiltration of Adipose Tissue Impacts MCF7 Breast Cancer Cells and Total Lipid Content

Int J Mol Sci. 2019 Nov 11;20(22):5626. doi: 10.3390/ijms20225626.


Background: Considering the positive or negative potential effects of adipocytes, depending on their lipid composition, on breast tumor progression, it is important to evaluate whether adipose tissue (AT) harvesting procedures, including epinephrine infiltration, may influence breast cancer progression.

Methods: Culture medium conditioned with epinephrine-infiltrated adipose tissue was tested on human Michigan Cancer Foundation-7 (MCF7) breast cancer cells, cultured in monolayer or in oncospheres. Lipid composition was evaluated depending on epinephrine-infiltration for five patients. Epinephrine-infiltrated adipose tissue (EI-AT) or corresponding conditioned medium (EI-CM) were injected into orthotopic breast carcinoma induced in athymic mouse.

Results: EI-CM significantly increased the proliferation rate of MCF7 cells Moreover EI-CM induced an output of the quiescent state of MCF7 cells, but it could be either an activator or inhibitor of the epithelial mesenchymal transition as indicated by gene expression changes. EI-CM presented a significantly higher lipid total weight compared with the conditioned medium obtained from non-infiltrated-AT of paired-patients. In vivo, neither the EI-CM or EI-AT injection significantly promoted MCF7-induced tumor growth.

Conclusions: Even though conditioned media are widely used to mimic the secretome of cells or tissues, they may produce different effects on tumor progression, which may explain some of the discrepancy observed between in vitro, preclinical and clinical data using AT samples.

Keywords: adipose tissue; breast cancer; breast reconstruction; epinephrine.

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects*
  • Culture Media, Conditioned / pharmacology
  • Epinephrine / pharmacology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lipid Metabolism*
  • MCF-7 Cells
  • Mammary Neoplasms, Experimental / metabolism*
  • Mammary Neoplasms, Experimental / pathology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Nude
  • Xenograft Model Antitumor Assays / methods*
  • Xenograft Model Antitumor Assays / standards


  • Culture Media, Conditioned
  • Epinephrine