Adipose Cells Induce Escape from an Engineered Human Breast Microtumor Independently of their Obesity Status

Yoseph W. Dance, Mackenzie C. Obenreder, Alex J. Seibel, Tova Meshulam, Joshua W. Ogony, Nikhil Lahiri, Laura Pacheco-Spann, Derek C. Radisky, Matthew D. Layne, Stephen R. Farmer, Celeste M. Nelson, Joe Tien

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Introduction: Obesity is associated with increased breast cancer incidence, recurrence, and mortality. Adipocytes and adipose-derived stem cells (ASCs), two resident cell types in adipose tissue, accelerate the early stages of breast cancer progression. It remains unclear whether obesity plays a role in the subsequent escape of malignant breast cancer cells into the local circulation. Methods: We engineered models of human breast tumors with adipose stroma that exhibited different obesity-specific alterations. We used these models to assess the invasion and escape of breast cancer cells into an empty, blind-ended cavity (as a mimic of a lymphatic vessel) for up to sixteen days. Results: Lean and obese donor-derived adipose stroma hastened escape to similar extents. Moreover, a hypertrophic adipose stroma did not affect the rate of adipose-induced escape. When admixed directly into the model tumors, lean and obese donor-derived ASCs hastened escape similarly. Conclusions: This study demonstrates that the presence of adipose cells, independently of the obesity status of the adipose tissue donor, hastens the escape of human breast cancer cells in multiple models of obesity-associated breast cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23-39
Number of pages17
JournalCellular and Molecular Bioengineering
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • Modeling and Simulation


  • Fat
  • Hypertrophy
  • Intravasation
  • Microphysiological system
  • Microvascular tissue engineering
  • Triple-negative breast cancer
  • Tumor engineering


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