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    Growth factor and cytokine signaling can influence the development of several cancer types. One of the key players in the development of cancer is the Janus kinas (JAK) signal transducer of activators of transcription (STAT) signaling pathway. The majority of growth factors and cytokine interactions with their membrane-bound receptors trigger JAK-STAT activation. The influential relationship between obesity and cancer is a fact. However, there is a complex sequence of events contributing to the regulation of this mechanism to promote tumor growth, yet to be fully elucidated. The JAK-STAT pathway is influenced by obesity-associated changes that have been shown to impact cancer growth and progression. This intricate process is highly regulated by a vast array of adipokines and cytokines that exert their pleiotropic effects on cancer cells to enhance metastasis to distant target sites. Leptin is a cytokine, or more precise, an adipokine secreted mainly by adipose tissue that requires JAK-STAT activation to exert its biological functions. Leptin is the central regulator of energy balance and appetite. Leptin binding to its receptor OB-R in turn activates JAK-STAT, which induces proliferation, angiogenesis, and anti-apoptotic events in normal cells and malignant cells expressing the receptor. Leptin also induces crosstalk with Notch and IL-1 (NILCO), which involves other angiogenic factors promoting tumor growth. Therefore, the existence of multiple novel classes of therapeutics that target the JAK/STAT pathway has significant clinical implications. Then, the identification of the signaling networks and factors that regulate the obesity-cancer link to which potential pharmacologic interventions can be implemented to inhibit tumor growth and metastasis. In this review, we will discuss the specific relationship between leptin-JAK-STAT signaling and cancer.


    McKay Mullen, Ruben Rene Gonzalez-Perez. Leptin-Induced JAK/STAT Signaling and Cancer Growth. Vaccines. 2016;4(3)

    PMID: 27472371

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