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01.08.2011 | Research article | Ausgabe 4/2011 Open Access

Breast Cancer Research 4/2011

Dietary fat increases solid tumor growth and metastasis of 4T1 murine mammary carcinoma cells and mortality in obesity-resistant BALB/c mice

Breast Cancer Research > Ausgabe 4/2011
Eun Ji Kim, Mi-Ran Choi, Heesook Park, Minhee Kim, Ji Eun Hong, Jae-Yong Lee, Hyang Sook Chun, Ki Won Lee, Jung Han Yoon Park
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1186/​bcr2927) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Authors' contributions

MRC, HP, MK, and JEH carried out the majority of animal studies, including evaluation of food consumption, tumor volumes, mortality, Western blotting, immunohistochemistry, ELISA, and metastasis. JYL, HSC, and KWL were responsible for conception of the project, oversight of experiments, and training of certain participants. EJK and JHYP were responsible for conception of the project, oversight of experiments, and training of certain participants, and they drafted the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.



High-fat diets (HFDs) are known to cause obesity and are associated with breast cancer progression and metastasis. Because obesity is associated with breast cancer progression, it is important to determine whether dietary fat per se stimulates breast cancer progression in the absence of obesity. This study investigated whether an HFD increases breast cancer growth and metastasis, as well as mortality, in obesity-resistant BALB/c mice.


The 4-week-old, female BALB/c mice were fed HFD (60% kcal fat) or control diet (CD, 10% kcal fat) for 16 weeks. Subsequently, 4T1 mammary carcinoma cells were injected into the inguinal mammary fat pads of mice fed continuously on their respective diets. Cell-cycle progression, angiogenesis, and immune cells in tumor tissues, proteases and adhesion molecules in the lungs, and serum cytokine levels were analyzed with immunohistochemistry, Western blotting, and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). In vitro studies were also conducted to evaluate the effects of cytokines on 4T1 cell viability, migration, and adhesion.


Spleen and gonadal fat-pad weights, tumor weight, the number and volume of tumor nodules in the lung and liver, and tumor-associated mortality were increased in the HFD group, with only slight increases in energy intake and body weight. HF feeding increased macrophage infiltration into adipose tissues, the number of lipid vacuoles and the expression of cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK)2, cyclin D1, cyclin A, Ki67, CD31, CD45, and CD68 in the tumor tissues, and elevated serum levels of complement fragment 5a (C5a), interleukin (IL)-16, macrophage colony-stimulating factor (M-CSF), soluble intercellular adhesion molecule (sICAM)-1, tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinase (TIMP)-1, leptin, and triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells (TREM)-1. Protein levels of the urokinase-type plasminogen activator, ICAM-1, and vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 were increased, but plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 levels were decreased in the lungs of the HFD group. In vitro assays using 4T1 cells showed that sICAM-1 increased viability; TREM-1, TIMP-1, M-CSF, and sICAM-1 increased migration; and C5a, sICAM-1, IL-16, M-CSF, TIMP-1, and TREM-1 increased adhesion.


Dietary fat increases mammary tumor growth and metastasis, thereby increasing mortality in obesity-resistant mice.
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