Instruction of immunometabolism by adipose tissue: Implications for cancer progression

Remya Raja, Christopher Wu, Francesca Limbeck, Kristina Butler, Abhinav P. Acharya, Marion Curtis

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Disruption of metabolic homeostasis at the organismal level can cause metabolic syndrome associated with obesity. The role of adipose tissue in cancer has been investigated over the last several decades with many studies implicating obesity as a risk factor for the development of cancer. Adipose tissue contains a diverse array of immune cell populations that promote metabolic homeostasis through a tightly controlled balance of pro-and anti-inflammatory signals. During obesity, pro-inflammatory cell types infiltrate and expand within the adipose tissue, exacerbating metabolic dysfunction. Some studies have now shown that the intracellular metabolism of immune cells is also deregulated by the lipid-rich environment in obesity. What is not fully understood, is how this may influence cancer progression, metastasis, and anti-tumor immunity. This review seeks to highlight our current understanding of the effect of adipose tissue on immune cell function and discuss how recent results offer new insight into the role that adipose tissue plays in cancer progression and anti-tumor immunity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number3327
Issue number13
StatePublished - Jul 1 2021


  • Adipocyte
  • Adipose tissue
  • Cancer
  • Immune cell
  • Immunometabolism
  • Metastasis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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