Cancer cells couple heightened lipogenesis with lipolysis to produce fatty acid networks that support malignancy. Monoacylglycerol lipase (MAGL) plays a principal role in this process by converting monoglycerides, including the endocannabinoid 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG), to free fatty acids. Here, we show that MAGL is elevated in androgen-independent versus androgen-dependent human prostate cancer cell lines, and that pharmacological or RNA-interference disruption of this enzyme impairs prostate cancer aggressiveness. These effects were partially reversed by treatment with fatty acids or a cannabinoid receptor-1 (CB1) antagonist, and fully reversed by cotreatment with both agents. We further show that MAGL is part of a gene signature correlated with epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition and the stem-like properties of cancer cells, supporting a role for this enzyme in protumorigenic metabolism that, for prostate cancer, involves the dual control of endocannabinoid and fatty acid pathways.
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