The renaissance in the study of cancer metabolism has refocused efforts to identify and target metabolic dependencies of tumors as an approach for cancer therapy. One of the unique metabolic requirements that cancer cells possess to sustain their biosynthetic growth demands is altered fatty acid metabolism, in particular the synthesis of de novo fatty acids that are required as cellular building blocks to support cell division. Enhanced fatty acid synthesis that is observed in many tumor types has been postulated to open a therapeutic window for cancer therapy and, correspondingly, efforts to pharmacologically inhibit key enzymes of fatty acid synthesis are being pursued. However, despite these efforts, whether inhibition of fatty acid synthesis stunts tumor growth in vivo has been poorly understood. In this review, we focus on the recent evidence that pharmacologic inhibition of acetyl-CoA carboxylase, the enzyme that regulates the rate-limiting step of de novo fatty acid synthesis, exposes a metabolic liability of non-small cell lung cancer and represses tumor growth in preclinical models.
© 2016 Svensson and Shaw; Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.