Obesity has for decades been recognised as one of the major health concerns. Recently accumulated evidence has established that obesity or being overweight is strongly linked to an increased risk of cancer. However, it is still not completely clear how adipose tissue (fat), along with other stromal connective tissues and cells, contribute to tumour initiation and progression. In the tumour microenvironment, the adipose tissue cells, in particular the adipocytes, secrete a number of adipokines, including growth factors, hormones, collagens, fatty acids, and other metabolites as well as extracellular vesicles to shape and condition the tumour and its microenvironment. In fact, the adipocytes, through releasing these factors and materials, can directly and indirectly facilitate cancer cell proliferation, apoptosis, metabolism, angiogenesis, metastasis and even chemotherapy resistance. In this chapter, the multidimensional role played by adipocytes, a major and functional component of the adipose tissue, in promoting cancer development and progression within the tumour microenvironment will be discussed.
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