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Nikki A Ford, Nomeli P Nunez, Valerie B Holcomb, and Stephen D Hursting

Luminal breast tumors with little or no estrogen receptor α expression confer poor prognosis. Using the Met1 murine model of luminal breast cancer, we characterized the IGF1-dependency of diet-induced obesity (DIO) and calorie restriction (CR) effects on tumor growth, growth factor signaling, epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT), and chemokine expression. Liver-specific IGF1-deficient (LID) and littermate control (LC) mice were administered control, DIO, or 30% CR diets for 3 months before orthotopic injection of Met1 cells. Tumors grew for 1 month and then were assessed for Akt pathway activation and mRNA expression of chemokine and EMT constituents. LID mice, regardless of diet, displayed reduced Met1 tumor growth and downregulated Akt, EMT, and chemokine pathways. CR, relative to control, reduced serum IGF1 and Met1 tumor growth in LC (but not LID) mice. DIO, relative to control, increased Met1 tumor growth and chemokine expression in LID mice, and had no effect on serum IGF1 or pAkt or cyclin D1 expression in either genotype. Thus, circulating IGF1 (in association with Akt, EMT, and chemokines) regulated Met1 tumor growth. While the anticancer effects of CR were largely IGF1-dependent, the procancer effects of DIO manifested only when circulating IGF1 levels were low. Thus, in a murine model of luminal breast cancer, IGF1 and its downstream signaling pathway, EMT, and chemokines present possible mechanistic regulatory targets. Transplanted MMTV1 Wnt1 mammary tumor growth was also reduced in LID mice, relative to LC mice, suggesting that the IGF1 effects on mammary tumor growth are not limited to Met1 tumors.

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Leticia M Nogueira, Sarah M Dunlap, Nikki A Ford, and Stephen D Hursting

Obesity is an established risk and progression factor for postmenopausal breast cancer. Interventions to decrease caloric intake and/or increase energy expenditure beneficially impact tumor progression in normoweight humans and animal models. However, despite the increasingly high global prevalence of obesity, the effects and underlying mechanisms of these energy balance modulating interventions are poorly characterized in obese individuals. The goal of this study was to better characterize the mechanism(s) responsible for the link between energy balance and breast cancer progression in the postmenopausal obesity context. We compared the effects of calorie restriction (CR), treadmill exercise (EX), and mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR inhibitor) treatment on body composition, serum biomarkers, cellular signaling, and mammary tumor growth in obese mice. Ovariectomized C57BL/6 mice were administered a diet-induced obesity regimen for 8 weeks, then randomized into three treatment groups: control (semipurified diet fed ad libitum, maintained the obese state); 30% CR (isonutrient relative to control except 30% reduction in carbohydrate calories); and EX (control diet fed ad libitum plus treadmill exercise). Mice were implanted with syngeneic MMTV-Wnt-1 mammary tumor cells at week 12. Rapamycin treatment (5 mg/kg every 48 h) started at week 14. Tumors were excised at week 18. CR and rapamycin (but not EX) significantly reduced final tumor weight compared to control. In follow-up analysis, constitutive activation of mTOR ablated the inhibitory effects of CR on Wnt-1 mammary tumor growth. We conclude that mTOR inhibition may be a pharmacologic strategy to mimic the anticancer effects of CR and break the obesity–breast cancer progression link.