The Adipocyte-Macrophage Interaction: Contribution To Breast Cancer Development
Obesity is a growing health problem in the United States. Currently 36% of women are classified as obese (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). Obesity increases the risk of breast cancer development in post-menopausal women. Obesity also increases the spread of breast cancer to other tissues in all breast cancer patients.
The cell types within breast tissue that surround the tumor can contribute to growth and spread of the tumor. An increased amount of adipose tissue composed of adipocytes (fat cells) is found in the breast tissue of obese women. In obesity, adipocytes send signals leading to the recruitment of macrophages (immune cells). We are investigating whether the interaction between adipocytes and macrophages within obese breast adipose tissue produces signals which promote breast cancer growth and spread. Our findings will help develop treatment strategies for obese breast cancer patients.