Normalizing glucose levels reconfigures the mammary tumor immune and metabolic microenvironment and decreases metastatic seeding

Academic Article


  • Obesity and diabetes cumulatively create a distinct systemic metabolic pathophysiological syndrome that predisposes patients to several diseases including breast cancer. Moreover, diabetic and obese women with breast cancer show a significant increase in mortality compared to non-obese and/or non-diabetic women. We hypothesized that these metabolic conditions incite an aggressive tumor phenotype by way of impacting tumor cell-autonomous and tumor cell non-autonomous events. In this study, we established a type 2 diabetic mouse model of triple-negative mammary carcinoma and investigated the effect of a glucose lowering therapy, metformin, on the overall tumor characteristics and immune/metabolic microenvironment. Diabetic mice exhibited larger mammary tumors that had increased adiposity with high levels of O-GlcNAc protein post-translational modification. These tumors also presented with a distinct stromal profile characterized by altered collagen architecture, increased infiltration by tumor-permissive M2 macrophages, and early metastatic seeding compared to non-diabetic/lean mice. Metformin treatment of the diabetic/obese mice effectively normalized glucose levels, reconfigured the mammary tumor milieu, and decreased metastatic seeding. Our results highlight the impact of two metabolic complications of obesity and diabetes on tumor cell attributes and showcase metformin's ability to revert tumor cell and stromal changes induced by an obese and diabetic host environment.
  • Published In

  • Cancer Letters  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 24534600
  • Author List

  • Alsheikh HAM; Metge BJ; Ha CM; Hinshaw DC; Mota MSV; Kammerud SC; Lama-Sherpa T; Sharafeldin N; Wende AR; Samant RS
  • Start Page

  • 24
  • End Page

  • 34
  • Volume

  • 517