Fatty cells in stomach are 'fuel for cancer cells'

31 October 2011

Healthcare research has found that fatty cells in the abdomen could be linked to ovarian cancer.

A study by Ernst Lengyel, professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at the University of Chicago found that a large pad of lipid cells across the abdomen and intestines may provide nutrients that promote the growth and spread of cancerous cells.

Published in the journal Nature Medicine, the research explains that ovarian cancer tends to spread within the abdominal cavity as opposed to distant organs and that by the time it has been diagnosed, in 80 per cent of women the cancer will have spread to the pad of fat cells encouraging its growth.

Prof Lengyel, who worked with a team on the research, said: "This fatty tissue, which is extraordinarily rich in energy-dense lipids, acts as a launching pad and energy source for the likely lethal spread of ovarian cancer."

He added that the cells make up the omentum which acts as a fuel for the cancer, enabling the cells to multiply rapidly. He also mentioned that gaining better knowledge of the layer of fatty cells would help find a way to disrupt the process.

Ovarian cancer is the fifth most common cancer among women, and it causes more deaths than any other type of female reproductive cancer.

Posted by Jeanette Royston

Lengyel, Ernst, et al., " Adipocytes promote ovarian cancer metastasis and provide energy for rapid tumor growth", Nature Medicine, October 30th 2011.


Health News is provided by Adfero in collaboration with Spire Healthcare. Please note that all copy above is ©Adfero Ltd. and does not reflect views or opinions of Spire Healthcare unless explicitly stated. Additional comments on the page from individual Spire consultants do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of other consultants or Spire Healthcare.

Find a treatment, test or scan available at:


Find a consultant

Use one or more of the options below to search for a consultant and link through to view their Spire profile.


Let us help you

fill out this form and we will get back to you:

Please select a hospital

We can call you

Please enter your details below and we will call you back.

What is the aim of your enquiry?

Please select a hospital

If we are unable to reach you by phone, please include your email address so that we can get in touch...



© Spire Healthcare Group plc (2016)