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  • Author: Hichem Bouguerra x
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Hichem Bouguerra, Gorrab Amal, Stephan Clavel, Hamouda Boussen, Jean-François Louet and Asma Gati

Large prospective studies established a link between obesity and breast cancer (BC) development. Yet, the mechanisms underlying this association are not fully understood. Among the diverse adipocytokine secreted by hypertrophic adipose tissue, leptin is emerging as a key candidate molecule linking obesity and cancer, since it promotes proliferation and invasiveness of tumors. However, the potential implication of leptin on tumor escape mechanisms remains unknown. This study aims to explore the effect of leptin on tumor resistance to NK lysis and the underlying mechanism. We found that leptin promotes both BC resistance to NK92-mediated lysis and β oxidation on MCF-7, by the up-regulation of a master regulator of mitochondrial biogenesis, the peroxisome proliferator activated receptor coactivator-1 α (PGC1A). Using adenoviral approaches, we show that acute elevation of PGC1A enhances the fatty acid oxidation pathway and decreases the susceptibility of BC cells to NK92-mediated lysis. Importantly, we identified the involvement of PGC1A and leptin in the regulation of hypoxia inducible factor-1 alpha (HIF1A) expression by tumor cells. We further demonstrate that basal BC cells MDA-MB-231 and BT-20 exhibit an increased PGC1A mRNA level and an enhanced oxidative phosphorylation activity; in comparison with luminal BC cells MCF7 and MDA-361, which are associated with more resistance NK92 lysis. Altogether, our results demonstrate for the first time how leptin could promote tumor resistance to immune attacks. Reagents blocking leptin or PGC1A activity might aid in developing new therapeutic strategies to limit tumor development in obese BC patients.