Obesity promotes B16BL6 melanoma cell invasiveness and Snai1 expression
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Malignant melanoma is cancer arising from melanocytes that have acquired the ability to metastasize and colonize secondary organs such as the lungs, liver, and brain. According to the Melanoma Research Foundation, malignant melanoma is the most rapidly increasing type of cancer with an annual incidence increase of ~ 4% despite the therapeutic and medical breakthroughs in cancer treatment. Melanoma is the most common cancer in young adults ages 20-30, and it is the leading cause of cancer death in females ages 25-30. Non-modifiable risk factors include age, gender, and inherited predisposition to moles. As for modifiable risk factors, exposure to UV rays from the sun is well-established, but obesity has recently emerged as a factor through recent epidemiological and animal studies. Our results showed that obesity modulates the expression of the transcription factor Snai1, which has been shown to be a key gene in the regulation of the Epithelial-to-Mesenchymal Transition (EMT). Serum from obese ob/ob mice, as well as conditioned media from 3T3L1 adipocytes, increased the invasive ability of melanoma cells and the expression of the transcription factor Snai1. Yet, the cytokine IL-6 may not be a critical component of obesity-mediated B16BL6 melanoma cell invasiveness.