Cell membrane fatty acid composition differs between normal and malignant cell lines

P R Health Sci J. 2004 Jun;23(2):103-6.


Twenty-eight fatty acids (C8:0 to C24:l n-9) were measured by gas chromatography in four normal cell lines (C3H / 10T1 / 2, CCD-18Co, CCD-25SK and CCD-37Lu) and seven cancer cell lines (C-41, Caov-3, LS-180, PC-3, SK-MEL-28, SK-MES-1 and U-87 MG). Results show differences in the content and proportions of fatty acids when comparing cancer cell lines with their normal counterparts. Cancer cell lines showed lower C20: 4 n-6, C24:1 n-9, polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA's) and ratios of C20:4 n-6 to C20:5 n-3 and C16:0 to C18:1 n-9 and stearic to oleic (SA/OA) than their normal counterparts. All cancer cell lines had SA/OA ratios lower than 7.0 while normal cell lines had ratios greater than 0.7 (p<0.05). In addition, the ratios of total saturated fatty acids (SFA) to PUFA'S and the concentration of C18:1 n-9, C18:2 n-6, C20:5 n-3 were higher in cancer cell lines as compared to normal cell lines. A positive correlation was detected between C16:0 and longer SFA'S (r = +0.511, p<0.05) in normal cell lines whereas a negative correlation (r=0.608, p<0.05) was obtained for malignant cell lines. Moreover, cancerous cell lines exhibited a particular desaturation defect and an abnormal incorporation of C18:2 n-6 and C20-4 n-6 fatty acids.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line, Tumor / chemistry*
  • Cell Line, Tumor / metabolism
  • Cell Membrane / chemistry*
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Fatty Acids / analysis*
  • Fatty Acids / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Mice


  • Fatty Acids