Postmenopausal obesity promotes tumor angiogenesis and breast cancer progression in mice

 Abstract

Obese postmenopausal women have a 50% higher risk of breast cancer than non-obese women. There is not an animal model that mimics postmenopausal obesity related to breast cancer progression. Using age-relevant C57BL/6 mice, this study determined whether postmenopausal obesity increases VEGF expression, tumor angiogenesis, and breast tumor growth. Ovariectomy (OVX) was performed in 12 sixty week-old female mice, then followed by a low-fat (5%, LF, n=6) or a high-fat (60%, HF, n=6) diet for 12 weeks. In the eighth week of the dietary program, 10^6 E0771 (mouse breast cancer) cells were injected in the left fourth mammary gland. Tumor size was monitored for 4 weeks. Body weights were monitored weekly. At the end of the experiment, blood samples, visceral fat and tumors were collected for measuring VEGF expression using ELISA and intratumoral microvessel density (IMD) using CD31 immunochemistry. Body weight was significantly increased in OVX/HF mice, compared to OVX/LF group (55.3±1.7 vs. 41.5±1.5 g; p < 0.01). There was a two-fold increase in the ratio of visceral fat/BW in OVX/HF mice, compared to those in OVX/LF group (0.062±0.005 vs. 0.032±0.003; p < 0.01). Postmenopausal obesity significantly increased breast tumor weight over the control (4.62±0.63 vs. 1.98±0.27 g; p < 0.01) and IMD (173±3.7 vs. 139±4.3 IM#/mm^2; p < 0.01). Tumor VEGF levels were higher in OVX/HF mice, compared to OVX/LF group (73.3±3.8 vs. 49.5±4.3 pg/mg protein; p < 0.01). Plasma VEGF levels (69±7.1 vs. 48±3.5 pg/ml) and visceral fat VEGF levels (424.4±39.5 vs. 208.5±22.4 pg/mg protein) were significantly increased in OVX/HF mice, compared to OVX/LF group, respectively (n=6; p < 0.01). Interestingly, adipose tissue primary culture showed that subcutaneous fat released more VEGF, compared to visceral fat (6.77±1.14 vs. 0.94±0.16 pg/mg tissue; n=6; p < 0.01). These findings support the hypothesis that postmenopausal obesity promotes tumor angiogenesis and breast cancer progression, possibly through increased adipose tissue mass and adipokines such as VEGF that could systemically and locally affect breast cancer progression.

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Pages
910 - 917
doi
10.4161/cbt.11.10.15473
Type
Research Paper
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Postmenopausal obesity promotes tumor angiogenesis and breast cancer progression in mice