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Signaling Pathways Induced by Leptin during Epithelial–Mesenchymal Transition in Breast Cancer

Date Posted: Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Teresita Padilla-Benavides, PhDTeresita Padilla-Benavides, PhD, recently had her paper, "Signaling Pathways Induced by Leptin during Epithelial–Mesenchymal Transition in Breast Cancer", published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences.

Leptin is an adipokine that is overexpressed in obese and overweight people. Interestingly, women with breast cancer present high levels of leptin and of its receptor ObR. Leptin plays an important role in breast cancer progression due to the biological processes it participates in, such as epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT). EMT consists of a series of orchestrated events in which cell–cell and cell–extracellular matrix interactions are altered and lead to the release of epithelial cells from the surrounding tissue. The cytoskeleton is also re-arranged, allowing the three-dimensional movement of epithelial cells into the extracellular matrix. This transition provides cells with the ability to migrate and invade adjacent or distal tissues, which is a classic feature of invasive or metastatic carcinoma cells. In recent years, the number of cases of breast cancer has increased, making this disease a public health problem worldwide and the leading cause of death due to cancer in women. In this review, we focus on recent advances that establish: (1) leptin as a risk factor for the development of breast cancer, and (2) leptin as an inducer of EMT, an event that promotes tumor progression.


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