Emphasis on Adipocyte Transformation: Anti-Inflammatory Agents to Prevent the Development of Cancer-Associated Adipocytes

Heeju Na, Yaechan Song, Han Woong Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Of the various cell types in the tumor microenvironment (TME), adipocytes undergo a dynamic transformation when activated by neighboring cancer cells. Although these adipocytes, known as cancer-associated adipocytes (CAAs), have been reported to play a crucial role in tumor progression, the factors that mediate their transformation remain elusive. In this review, we discuss the hypothesis that inflammatory signals involving NF-ĸB activation can induce lipolysis and adipocyte dedifferentiation. This provides a mechanistic understanding of CAA formation and introduces the concept of preventing adipocyte transformation via anti-inflammatory agents. Indeed, epidemiological studies indicate a higher efficacy of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) in obese patients with cancer, suggesting that NSAIDs can modulate the TME. Inhibition of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) and prostaglandin production leads to the suppression of inflammatory signals such as NF-ĸB. Thus, we suggest the use of NSAIDs in cancer patients with metabolic disorders to prevent the transformation of TME components. Moreover, throughout this review, we attempt to expand our knowledge of CAA transformation to improve the clinical feasibility of targeting CAAs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number502
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Jan

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was funded by National Research Foundation of Republic of Korea: Ministry of Science and ICT (2020R1A4A1019063), National Cancer Center (HA22C0147), and Ministry of Education (2022R1A6A3A13071199). We acknowledge the support from Brain Korea 21 (BK21) PLUS program and Yonsei University.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 by the authors.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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