Chemerin is widely recognized as an adipokine, with diverse biological roles in cellular differentiation and metabolism, as well as a leukocyte chemoattractant. Research investigating the role of chemerin in the obesity–cancer relationship has provided evidence both for pro- and anti-cancer effects. The tumor-promoting effects of chemerin primarily involve direct effects on migration, invasion, and metastasis as well as growth and proliferation of cancer cells. Chemerin can also promote tumor growth via the recruitment of tumor-supporting mesenchymal stromal cells and stimulation of angiogenesis pathways in endothelial cells. In contrast, the majority of evidence supports that the tumor-suppressing effects of chemerin are immune-mediated and result in a shift from immunosuppressive to immunogenic cell populations within the tumor microenvironment. Systemic chemerin and chemerin produced within the tumor microenvironment may contribute to these effects via signaling through CMKLR1 (chemerin1
), GPR1 (chemerin2
), and CCLR2 on target cells. As such, inhibition or activation of chemerin signaling could be beneficial as a therapeutic approach depending on the type of cancer. Additional studies are required to determine if obesity influences cancer initiation or progression through increased adipose tissue production of chemerin and/or altered chemerin processing that leads to changes in chemerin signaling in the tumor microenvironment.
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