Open Access Open Badges Research article

Changed adipocytokine concentrations in colorectal tumor patients and morbidly obese patients compared to healthy controls

Andreas Hillenbrand1*, Juliane Fassler1, Nadine Huber1, Pengfei Xu1, Doris Henne-Bruns1, Markus Templin2, Hubert Schrezenmeier3, Anna Maria Wolf1 and Uwe Knippschild1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of General and Visceral Surgery, University Hospital of Ulm, Albert-Einstein-Allee 23, 89081, Ulm, Germany

2 NMI at the University of Tuebingen, Markwiesenstr. 55, 72770, Reutlingen, Germany

3 Institute of Clinical Tranfusion Medicine and Immunogenetics, Helmholtzstr. 10, 89081, Ulm, Germany

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BMC Cancer 2012, 12:545  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-12-545

Published: 23 November 2012



Obesity has been associated with increased incidence of colorectal cancer. Adipose tissue dysfunction accompanied with alterations in the release of adipocytokines has been proposed to contribute to cancer pathogenesis and progression. The aim of this study was to analyze plasma concentrations of several adipose tissue expressed hormones in colorectal cancer patients (CRC) and morbidly obese (MO) patients and to compare these concentrations to clinicopathological parameters.


Plasma concentrations of adiponectin, resistin, leptin, active plasminogen activator inhibitor (PAI)-1, monocyte chemotactic protein (MCP)-1, interleukin (IL)-1 alpha, and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha were determined in 67 patients operated on for CRC (31 rectal cancers, 36 colon cancers), 37 patients operated on for morbid obesity and 60 healthy blood donors (BD).


Compared to BD, leptin concentrations were lowered in CRC patients whereas those of MO patients were elevated. Adiponectin concentrations were only lowered in MO patients. Concentrations of MCP-1, PAI-1, and IL-1 alpha were elevated in both CRC and MO patients, while resistin and TNF-alpha were similarly expressed in MO and CRC patients compared to BD. Resistin concentrations positively correlated with tumor staging (p<0.002) and grading (p=0.015) of rectal tumor patients.


The results suggest that both MO and CRC have low-grade inflammation as part of their etiology.

Adipokine; Adipocytokine; Cytokine; Colorectal cancer; Morbid obesity; Adiponectin; Leptin; Resistin