Association of obesity and circulating adipose stromal cells among breast cancer survivors

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18 Scopus citations


A positive association of obesity with breast cancer incidence and mortality is well established. Recent reports indicate that adipose stromal cells (ASCs) play an important role in breast cancer development and progression by producing estrogens and tumor-promoting cytokines. Furthermore, circulating ASCs have been uniquely detected in obese individuals, which is likely due to increased tissue remodeling and cell mobilization. The number of circulating ASCs is even more prominent in obese patients with colon and prostate cancers, both of which are exacerbated by obesity. To determine whether a similar association exists for breast cancer, we collected blood samples from a cohort of breast cancer survivors and enumerated circulating ASCs by flow cytometry on the basis of the previously established ASC-associated immunophenotype (CD34+/CD31-/CD45-). We found significantly higher levels of circulating ASCs (p < 0.001) in breast cancer survivors with body mass index (BMI) ≥30 kg/m2 than their non-obese counterparts (BMI < 30). We also compared circulating ASCs before and after exercise of only the obese subjects enrolled in a 6-month individualized exercise program, but found no statistically significant difference, likely due to limited number of subjects in the study. Our findings suggest that circulating ASCs can serve as a potential biomarker for future studies of the impacts of obesity and physical activity on breast cancer recurrence and survival.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2907-2916
Number of pages10
JournalMolecular Biology Reports
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2014


  • Breast cancer
  • Circulating adipose stromal cells (ASC)
  • Exercise
  • Obesity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Molecular Biology


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