Breast Cancer Research and Treatment

, Volume 141, Issue 2, pp 317–324 | Cite as

Sulforaphane inhibits mammary adipogenesis by targeting adipose mesenchymal stem cells

  • Qinglin Li
  • Jixiang Xia
  • Yuan Yao
  • Da-wei Gong
  • Hongfei Shi
  • Qun ZhouEmail author
Brief Report


It is now well accepted that tumor cells actively communicate with the tumor microenvironment (e.g., adipocytes) leading to the progression of breast cancer and other malignancies. It is also known that adipose mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have the ability to differentiate into mature adipocytes and initiate cytokine signaling within the tumor microenvironment. Here, we examine the role of MSC-differentiated adipocytes on breast cancer cell migration, and test the effects of sulforaphane (SFN, a dietary chemoprevention agent) on adipocyte–breast cancer cell interaction. Our results demonstrate that SFN promotes MSC self-renewal and inhibits adipogenic differentiation. Subsequently, SFN treatment of adipocytes considerably hinders cytokine communication with breast cancer cells, thereby decreasing breast cancer cell migration and tumor formation.


Sulforaphane Mammary Adipogenesis Adipose Mesenchymal stem cells Breast cancer cells 



This work was supported by ACS (Q.Z.), NIH/NCI R01 (Q.Z.), and NIH (P30DK072488, D.W.G). The authors thank Carlo Mercado for help.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Qinglin Li
    • 1
  • Jixiang Xia
    • 1
  • Yuan Yao
    • 1
  • Da-wei Gong
    • 2
  • Hongfei Shi
    • 3
  • Qun Zhou
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Biochemistry and Molecular BiologyUniversity of Maryland School of MedicineBaltimoreUSA
  2. 2.Department of MedicineUniversity of Maryland School of MedicineBaltimoreUSA
  3. 3.Division of Nutrition ScienceNanjing University of Chinese MedicineNanjingChina

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