Wiley Logo Obesity a major issue being tackled these days seems to elevate chances of developing several cancers, namely colon, prostate, breast, and liver cancers. A team of experts from the Emory University School of Medicine suggests that the protein hormone adiponectin can restrict the oncogenic actions of leptin such as in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The findings can possibly open doors for a therapy treating this ailment.

Obese individuals may have elevated circulating levels of the protein hormone leptin, which manages appetite. It is presumed that lower concentrations of adiponectin controls glucose levels and breaks down fatty acids. Detailed information of these hormones can possibly help gauge their role in obesity-related cancers and those at risk. During the research, scientists inspected the protective effect of adiponectin and its impact on leptin in HCC. Presumably, HCC has the greatest increased risk linked with obesity than other cancers like prostate, kidney, colon, and stomach.

Dr. Neeraj K. Saxena, Ph.D., remarked, “Taken together our results suggest an attractive molecular strategy employing adiponectin analogues for potential therapy of metastatic HCC. With the prevalence of obesity in the U.S., our study could significantly improve overall survival for a vast number of obese liver cancer patients by using adiponectin to inhibit growth, invasion, and migration of HCC cells.”

With the help of human cell-lines, mice models of HCC, and tissue microarray the antagonistic role of adiponectin on the cancer-causing actions of leptin was seemingly bought under limelight. Adiponectin treatment apparently prevented leptin-induced proliferation, invasion, and migration of HCC cells. It was also observed that treatment with adiponectin delayed leptin-induced HCC tumor growth in vivo. Leptin expression seems to be associated positively with HCC proliferation and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). While adiponectin expression may have an inverse link with tumor size, it develops a direct correlation to disease-free survival in human HCC tumor samples.

The research will be published in the November issue of Hepatology.