Leptin-induced signaling pathways in cancer cell migration and invasion

  • Ahmad Ghasemi
  • Jafar Saeidi
  • Mohsen Azimi-Nejad
  • Seyed Isaac HashemyEmail author



Increasing evidence indicates that obesity is associated with tumor development and progression. Leptin is an adipocyte-related hormone with a key role in energy metabolism and whose circulating levels are elevated in obesity. The effect of leptin on cancer progression and metastasis and its underlying mechanisms are still unclear. Leptin can impact various steps in tumor metastasis, including epithelial-mesenchymal transition, cell adhesion to the extracellular matrix (ECM), and proteolysis of ECM components. To do so, leptin binds to its receptor (OB-Rb) to activate signaling pathways and downstream effectors that participate in tumor cell invasion as well as distant metastasis.


In this review, we describe metastasis steps in detail and characterize metastasis-related molecules activated by leptin, which may help to develop a roadmap that guides future work. In addition, we conclude that a profound understanding of the fundamental molecular processes that contribute to leptin-induced metastasis may pave the way for the development of new prognostic molecules and appropriate approaches to the treatment of obesity-related cancers.


Obesity Leptin Cancer Cell migration Cell invasion Metastasis 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© International Society for Cellular Oncology 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Basic Medical SciencesNeyshabur University of Medical SciencesNeyshaburIran
  2. 2.Department of Clinical Biochemistry, School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical SciencesIsfahan University of Medical SciencesIsfahanIran
  3. 3.Department of Physiology, School of Basic Science, Neyshabur BranchIslamic Azad UniversityNeyshaburIran
  4. 4.Department of Genetic, School of MedicineMashhad University of Medical SciencesMashhadIran
  5. 5.Surgical Oncology Research CenterMashhad University of Medical SciencesMashhadIran

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