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Evidence and Mechanisms of Fat Depletion in Cancer

Division of Human Nutrition, Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science, University of Alberta, 4-002 Li Ka Shing Centre for Health Research Innovation, Edmonton, AB T6G 2E1, Canada
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nutrients 2014, 6(11), 5280-5297;
Received: 5 August 2014 / Revised: 19 September 2014 / Accepted: 10 October 2014 / Published: 19 November 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition and Cancer)
The majority of cancer patients experience wasting characterized by muscle loss with or without fat loss. In human and animal models of cancer, body composition assessment and morphological analysis reveals adipose atrophy and presence of smaller adipocytes. Fat loss is associated with reduced quality of life in cancer patients and shorter survival independent of body mass index. Fat loss occurs in both visceral and subcutaneous depots; however, the pattern of loss has been incompletely characterized. Increased lipolysis and fat oxidation, decreased lipogenesis, impaired lipid depositionand adipogenesis, as well as browning of white adipose tissue may underlie adipose atrophy in cancer. Inflammatory cytokines such as interleukin-6 (IL-6), tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α), and interleukin-1 beta (IL-1β) produced by the tumor or adipose tissue may also contribute to adipose depletion. Identifying the mechanisms and time course of fat mass changes in cancer may help identify individuals at risk of adipose depletion and define interventions to circumvent wasting. This review outlines current knowledge of fat mass in cancer and illustrates the need for further studies to assess alterations in visceral and subcutaneous adipose depots and possible mechanisms for loss of fat during cancer progression. View Full-Text
Keywords: adipose tissue; cancer; computed tomography; fat mobilization adipose tissue; cancer; computed tomography; fat mobilization
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Ebadi, M.; Mazurak, V.C. Evidence and Mechanisms of Fat Depletion in Cancer. Nutrients 2014, 6, 5280-5297.

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