Gold nanoparticles and obese adipose tissue microenvironment in cancer treatment

Type Article

Journal Article


N. Essa; F. O'Connell; A. Prina-Mello; J. O'Sullivan; S. Marcone

Year of publication



Cancer Lett







The epidemiological correlation between obesity and cancer is well characterized, but the biological mechanisms which regulate tumor development and response to therapy in obese cancer patients remain unclear. The tumor microenvironment plays an important role in protecting cancer cells by altering the delivery of anticancer therapy to the tumor tissue, reducing the efficacy of treatment. Obese tumor microenvironment provides additional benefits to the survival of tumor cells against anticancer therapies by altering the extracellular matrix composition, angiogenesis processes and the immune cells profile. Nanotechnology, and in particular gold nanoparticles, are being researched as a theranostic strategy for cancer treatment due to their ability to sensitize cancer cells to radiation and photodynamic therapy, enhance delivery of drugs to tumor cells, and in diagnostic applications. Adipose tissue and the obese tumor microenvironment may alter the activity of nanotherapeutics. In this article, we reviewed the current state of our understanding about the mechanisms by which the obese tumor microenvironment may alter the delivery and efficacy of anti-cancer treatments, and why the use of gold nanoparticles may represent an interesting strategy for cancer treatment in the obesity setting.