Previously, adipose tissue (body fat) was thought of as an energy reserve. However, fat cells are now believed to be active cells that produce more than 400 adipokines (hormones) that eventually enter the bloodstream and circulate in the body. Interestingly, scientists at New York University found that the hormones produced by fat cells could promote breast cancer growth in obese people, whereas they prevent breast cancer growth in lean people.
Using a rodent model, the researchers analyzed whether the fat cells are a link between obesity and breast cancer and whether interventions targeting obesity counteract any of the life-threatening effects of breast cancer. The research published in Journal of Applied Physiology points out exercise, which has no harmful side effects as many cancer drugs, as a potentially beneficial therapy for some breast cancer patients.