In DepthBiomedicine

Obesity gives unexpected boost to anticancer drugs

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Science  16 Nov 2018:
Vol. 362, Issue 6416, pp. 734
DOI: 10.1126/science.362.6416.734

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Summary

Second only to smoking, obesity is a top risk factor for cancer. But oncologists have noticed something surprising: Overweight patients sometimes respond better than other patients to powerful drugs that harness the immune system to fight tumors. Now, researchers tracing the complex effects of obesity on cancer are glimpsing a possible explanation: Obesity weakens the immune system and favors tumor growth by boosting the very same molecules those drugs target—PD-1, a protein on the surface of immune sentinels called T cells. The finding could point to ways to make the drugs more effective in all cancer patients.