(HealthDay News) — Fat cells can be recruited to tumors where they contribute to the growth of tumor blood vessels, according to a study in the Oct. 15 issue of Cancer Research.
Yan Zhang, Ph.D., from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, and colleagues investigated the effect of fat cells on tumor growth in mice fed a high-fat or low-fat diet.
The researchers found that cancers grew faster in the obese mice. The frequency of adipose stromal cells was six times higher in the systemic circulation of obese mice, and these cells trafficked from white adipose tissue to tumors. Adipose stromal cells mobilized to the circulation were recruited to tumors where they were incorporated into blood vessels as pericytes, and in an obesity-dependent manner, differentiated into adipocytes. Intratumoral adipocytes were associated with increased tumor vascularization and also correlated with increased growth of neighboring cancer cells.
“Taken together, our results suggest that adipose stromal cells recruited from endogenous adipose tissue can be recruited by tumors to potentiate the supportive properties of the tumor microenvironment,” Zhang and colleagues conclude.