Adipose tissue has been recognized as a complex organ with endocrine and metabolic roles. The excess of fat mass, as occurs during overweight and obesity states, alters the regulation of adipose tissue, contributing to the development of obesity-related disorders. In this regard, many epidemiological studies shown an association between obesity and numerous types of malignancies, comprising those linked to the endocrine system (e.g., breast, endometrial, ovarian, thyroid and prostate cancers). Multiple factors may contribute to this phenomenon, such as hyperinsulinemia, dyslipidemia, oxidative stress, inflammation, abnormal adipokines secretion and metabolism. Among adipokines, growing interest has been placed in recent years on adiponectin (APN) and on its role in carcinogenesis. APN is secreted by adipose tissue and exerts both anti-inflammatory and anti-proliferative actions. It has been demonstrated that APN is drastically decreased in obese individuals and that it can play a crucial role in tumor growth. Although literature data on the impact of APN on carcinogenesis are sometimes conflicting, the most accredited hypothesis is that it has a protective action, preventing cancer development and progression. The aim of the present review is to summarize the currently available evidence on the involvement of APN and its signaling in the etiology of cancer, focusing on endocrine malignancies.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited