Neoplasia (New York, N.Y.)

Obesity-Activated Adipose-Derived Stromal Cells Promote Breast Cancer Growth and Invasion.

PMID 30317122


Obese women diagnosed with breast cancer have an increased risk for metastasis, and the underlying mechanisms are not well established. Within the mammary gland, adipose-derived stromal cells (ASCs) are heterogeneous cells with the capacity to differentiate into multiple mesenchymal lineages. To study the effects of obesity on ASCs, mice were fed a control diet (CD) or high-fat diet (HFD) to induce obesity, and ASCs were isolated from the mammary glands of lean and obese mice. We observed that obesity increased ASCs proliferation, decreased differentiation potential, and upregulated expression of α-smooth muscle actin, a marker of activated fibroblasts, compared to ASCs from lean mice. To determine how ASCs from obese mice impacted tumor growth, we mixed ASCs isolated from CD- or HFD-fed mice with mammary tumor cells and injected them into the mammary glands of lean mice. Tumor cells mixed with ASCs from obese mice grew significantly larger tumors and had increased invasion into surrounding adipose tissue than tumor cells mixed with control ASCs. ASCs from obese mice demonstrated enhanced tumor cell invasion in culture, a phenotype associated with increased expression of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) and abrogated by IGF-1 neutralizing antibodies. Weight loss induced in obese mice significantly decreased expression of IGF-1 from ASCs and reduced the ability of the ASCs to induce an invasive phenotype. Together, these results suggest that obesity enhances local invasion of breast cancer cells through increased expression of IGF-1 by mammary ASCs, and weight loss may reverse this tumor-promoting phenotype.