Cancer metabolism: fatty acid oxidation in the limelight

Nat Rev Cancer. 2013 Apr;13(4):227-32. doi: 10.1038/nrc3483. Epub 2013 Feb 28.


Warburg suggested that the alterations in metabolism that he observed in cancer cells were due to the malfunction of mitochondria. In the past decade, we have revisited this idea and reached a better understanding of the 'metabolic switch' in cancer cells, including the intimate and causal relationship between cancer genes and metabolic alterations, and their potential to be targeted for cancer treatment. However, the vast majority of the research into cancer metabolism has been limited to a handful of metabolic pathways, while other pathways have remained in the dark. This Progress article brings to light the important contribution of fatty acid oxidation to cancer cell function.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphate / biosynthesis
  • Energy Metabolism / physiology
  • Fatty Acids / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Molecular Targeted Therapy / methods
  • Mutation / physiology
  • NADP / metabolism
  • Neoplasms / genetics
  • Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Neoplasms / therapy
  • Signal Transduction / physiology


  • Fatty Acids
  • NADP
  • Adenosine Triphosphate