Obesity is a factor in enhancing metastasis of cancers; losing weight can reverse this effect

Because it is quite well known that obesity is associated with inflammatory processes, it probably comes as no surprise that obesity appears to enhance cancer metastasis. Obesity affects more than 30% of adults in the U.S. Although obesity has been associated with both increased cancer risk in the oncology clinic and onset of disease in pre-clinical models, it has not been clear whether obesity-associated inflammation also promotes cancer progression and metastasis.

It is well known that chronic inflam­mation, which can be driven by tumors or other pathophysiological conditions, create favourable conditions for metastatic seed­ing and growth. In fact, systemic alterations that modify the tissue landscape of organs that are distant to the primary tumour are an important determinant of metastatic progression. In the attached article and editorial, authors confirmed a link between obesity-associated inflammation and breast cancer metastasis by demonstrat­ing that obesity-associated lung neutrophilia enhances metastasis in a manner dependent on granulocyte macrophage colony stimulat­ing factor (GM-CSF) and interleukin-5 (IL5). Moreover, authors show this process is reversible through dietary changes asso­ciated with weight loss. The data in this publication indicate that special consideration of the obese patient population is critical for effective management of cancer progression.

Nat Cell Biol 2o17; 19: 974–???

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