The multifaceted roles of fatty acid synthesis in cancer

Nat Rev Cancer. 2016 Nov;16(11):732-749. doi: 10.1038/nrc.2016.89. Epub 2016 Sep 23.


Lipid metabolism, in particular the synthesis of fatty acids (FAs), is an essential cellular process that converts nutrients into metabolic intermediates for membrane biosynthesis, energy storage and the generation of signalling molecules. This Review explores how different aspects of FA synthesis promote tumorigenesis and tumour progression. FA synthesis has received substantial attention as a potential target for cancer therapy, but strategies to target this process have not yet translated into clinical practice. Furthermore, efforts to target this pathway must consider the influence of the tumour microenvironment.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Carcinogenesis / metabolism*
  • Disease Progression
  • Fatty Acids / biosynthesis*
  • Fatty Acids / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Lipid Metabolism / physiology
  • Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Sterol Regulatory Element Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Tumor Microenvironment / physiology


  • Fatty Acids
  • Sterol Regulatory Element Binding Proteins