Scientists have found that there may be an explanation for why obese patients with cancer usually have a poorer prognosis than their lean counterparts.
Associate Professor at the Institute of Molecular Medicine at the University of Texas Heath Science Center at Houston, Mikhail Kolonin, Ph.D., has stated:
Studies of the population have clearly established that there is a link between obesity and cancer incidence. Moreover, for several cancers, obesity is associated with a poorer prognosis.
Data reported in Cancer Research, journal from American Association for Cancer Research is what provided the launching point for the theory. Together Kolonin and his colleagues evaluated how obesity can cause cancer to progress. Their studies led the to hypothesis that fat tissue known as white adipose tissue is directly involved in cancer progression. The tissue is what expands in people who are obese, meaning that diet and lifestyle are no longer determining factors.
Initial results have confirmed the hypothesis. In obese and lean mice that ate the same diet, tumor grew significantly faster in the obese mice that they did in lean mice. The researchers have observed that there were far more white adipose tissue cells in obese mice than in lean mice. This turned the groups focus on the role these cells take.
Upon detailed analysis, it was indicated that cancer caused mobilization of white adipose cells into circulation. Once these cells were in the tumors, some of them developed into fat cells, while others were incorporated into tumor-associated blood vessels.
The blood vessels are what support the growth of the tumor by bringing in the oxygen and nutrients cancer cells need to survive and grow on. Kolonin noted that the adipose cells ability to contribute to the formation of the blood vessels is likely to be one of the main reasons that tumors in obese people would be able to grow at an exponential rate.
“Our data provides the first in vivo evidence of recruitment of cells from endogenous fat tissue to tumors,” said Kolonin. “The fact that these cells are present in tumors is still an emerging concept. We have shown that not only are they present, but they are also functional and affect tumor growth. Identifying the signals that cause these cells to be recruited to tumors and finding ways to block them might provide a new avenue of cancer treatment.”
The information that obesity has a link with cancer growth is far from new, but Kolonin’s study is the first to provide the most concrete evidence for the theory. In the video below, Dr. Francesco Bertolini of European Institute of Oncology in Milan, Italy explains the role of white adipose and the research into it:
What are your thoughts on this new development Nation?