Effects of high fat diet-induced obesity on mammary tumorigenesis in the PyMT/MMTV murine model

Taryn L. Cranford, Kandy T. Velázquez, Reilly T. Enos, Alexander T. Sougiannis, Jackie E. Bader, Meredith S. Carson, Rebecca Bellone, Ioulia Chatzistamou, Mitzi Nagarkatti, E. Angela Murphy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Clinical studies provide strong evidence that obesity and associated adipose tissue (AT) inflammation are risk factors for breast cancer (BrCA); however, mechanistic knowledge of the interaction of obesity, BrCA, and menopausal status has proven to be not only lacking, but contradictory. Obesity-induced inflammation and elevated biosynthesis of estrogens, through aromatase-mediated metabolism of precursors, have been linked with hormone receptor positive (HP) postmenopausal BrCA but not previously associated with premenopausal BrCA risk. Thus, further delineation of the interaction of obesity, inflammation, and aromatase is required for the development of therapeutic treatment options. The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of high fat diet (HFD)-induced inflammation on tumorigenesis in a model of pre and postmenopausal HP BrCA. Female PyMT/MMTV ovary intact and ovariectomized mice were fed low and HFD diets to examine the role of obesity-induced inflammation and hormone production in the development of HP BrCA. Tumor statistics for number, volume, weight, histopathology scoring and gene expression of macrophage and inflammatory mediators were measured in the AT and mammary gland at sacrifice. HFD feedings of ovary intact mice resulted in increased adiposity and tumorigenesis, indicated by increased primary tumor volume, multiplicity, tumor burden, and increased tumor progression represented by histopathological scoring. HFD-induced obesity significantly upregulated aromatase and macrophage marker expression in the AT (F4/80 and CD11c) and mammary gland (Mertk) in a premenopausal model of BrCA. Conversely, HFD feedings had no significant effect on tumorigenesis in a postmenopausal model of BrCA despite large increases in adiposity in ovariectomized mice; however, limitations within the model may have precluded any significant findings. This data suggests that obesity-induced increases in inflammation and hormone production, via aromatase expression, is associated with increases in tumorigenesis in a model of premenopausal HP BrCA in the PyMT/MMTV strain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalCancer Biology and Therapy
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018


  • Breast cancer
  • high-fat-diet
  • hormone status
  • inflammation
  • mammary tumorigenesis
  • mouse models
  • obesity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Oncology
  • Pharmacology
  • Cancer Research


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