Fat, obesity and cancer
The link between cancer and obesity is well known, and almost half de cases of certain types of cancer are due to this reason, (including kidney, breast, liver and pancreatic cancers).
There are many possible mechanisms by which fatty tissue can cause cancer, such as: excessive production of hormones, insulin, and adipokines (which are hormones and cytokines that depending on the situation can provoke or reduce inflammation) by the adipose tissue.
The body keeps tumors under control by detecting the rogue cells at an early stage of development and its the body's immune cells seek tumors and kill them (natural killer cells or NK and CD+ T cells).
A paper published in Nature (Michelet et. al., 2018) ( 1 ) reports that fatty tissue "gums up" this immune reaction and impairs the cancer-killing effect of these immune cells.
The NK cells are the body's first line of defense against cancer celles. They detect tumor cells and kill them by secreting toxic products such as perforin and granzymes.
In obese subjects, the fatty environment with abundant lipid accumulation, interferes with the NK cells' metabolism. In other words, the fat in obese people's tissue halts the energy production inside NK cells which blocks their anti-tumoral activity.
The authors describe this effect as follows: "obesity induces robust ... lipid accumulation in NK cells, causing complete 'paralysis' of their cellular metabolism and trafficking. ... This prevented trafficking of the cytotoxic machinery to the NK cell-tumor synapse", in other words the cytotoxic (which means the cell killing chemicals produced by the NK cells) products can't reach the tumor because fat accumulates inside the NK cells.
Back to News...
> > News - Read more health and wellness news.