• adipose tissue;
  • cancer;
  • obesity


The relation between cancer and metabolic disorders was recognized several decades ago, but the underlying mechanisms involved in cancer development and progression remain obscure. In the last years, many groups have been studying systemic adipose tissue markers in cancer patients. However, few consistent results were obtained. On the other hand, several studies revealed many aspects of adipose tissue physiology in obesity. Nowadays, it is recognized that excessive lipid uptake in adipocytes leads to hypertrophy and consequently to metabolic dysregulation, hypoxia, inflammation, impaired adipocytokine expression and angiogenesis, insulin resistance and macrophage recruitment. In obese patients, tumours commonly colocalize with excessive adipose tissue accumulation, and most of the features of hypertrophic adipose tissue are observed in cancer patients, namely breast and colon. This review aimed to summarize pathological adipose tissue alterations that may contribute to cancer aetiology and development. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.