Obesity increases the risk of many cancers in both males and females. This study describes a link between obesity, obesity-associated metabolic alterations, and the risk of developing cancer in male and female mice. The goal of this study was to evaluate the relationship between gender and obesity and to determine the role of estrogen status in obese females and its effect on tumor growth. We examined the susceptibility of C57BL/6 mice to diet-induced obesity, insulin resistance/glucose intolerance, and tumors. Mice were injected sc with one of two tumorigenic cell lines, Lewis lung carcinoma, or mouse colon 38-adenocarcinoma. Results show that tumor growth rate was increased in obese mice vs. control mice irrespective of the tumor cell type. To investigate the effect of estrogen status on tumor development in obese females, we compared metabolic parameters and tumor growth in ovariectomized (ovx) and intact obese female mice. Obese ovx female mice developed insulin resistance and glucose intolerance similar to that observed in obese males. Our results demonstrate that body adiposity increased in ovx females irrespective of the diet administered and that tumor growth correlated positively with body adiposity. Overall, these data point to more rapid tumor growth in obese mice and suggest that endogenous sex steroids, together with diet, affect adiposity, insulin sensitivity, and tumor growth in female mice.
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