Obesity is associated with systemic chronic low-grade inflammation (so-called metaflammation) which represents a significant pathophysiologic state for the development of diabetes and cancer. However, the exact relationships between metaflammation and neoplasia formation and progression are still incompletely understood but might be of particular interest in the context of cancer immunotherapy.
We and others could recently identify Natural Killer (NK) cells, which are key immune cells to fight against neoplastic and infected cells, as central mediators metaflammation and insulin dependent glucose metabolism. More specifically, we identified a distinct and interleukin-6 /Stat3 dependent, obesity-associated NK cell subpopulation that could represent a novel cellular target to treat obesity and diabetes. We are now aiming to characterize the role of this NK cell subset in the context of selected obesity-associated cancer.