The reversibility of the procancer effects of obesity was interrogated in formerly obese C57BL/6 mice that lost weight via a nonrestricted low-fat diet (LFD) or 3 distinct calorie-restricted (CR) regimens (low-fat CR, Mediterranean-style CR, or intermittent CR). These mice, along with continuously obese mice and lean control mice, were orthotopically injected with E0771 cells, a mouse model of triple-negative breast cancer. Tumor weight, systemic cytokines, and incidence of lung metastases were elevated in the continuously obese and nonrestricted LFD mice relative to the 3 CR groups. Gene expression differed between the obese and all CR groups, but not the nonrestricted LFD group, for numerous tumoral genes associated with epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition as well as several genes in the normal mammary tissue associated with hypoxia, reactive oxygen species production, and p53 signaling. A high degree of concordance existed between differentially expressed mammary tissue genes from obese versus all CR mice and a microarray dataset from overweight/obese women randomized to either no intervention or a CR diet. Assessment of differentially methylated regions in mouse mammary tissues revealed that obesity, relative to the 4 weight loss groups, was associated with significant DNA hypermethylation. However, the anticancer effects of the CR interventions were independent of their ability to reverse obesity-associated mammary epigenetic reprogramming. Taken together, these preclinical data showing that the procancer effects of obesity are reversible by various forms of CR diets strongly support translational exploration of restricted dietary patterns for reducing the burden of obesity-associated cancers.
Obesity is an established risk and progression factor for triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC). Given rising global rates of obesity and TNBC, strategies to reduce the burden of obesity-driven TNBC are urgently needed. We report the genomic, epigenetic, and procancer effects of obesity are reversible by various calorie restriction regimens.