Emerging roles of lipid metabolism in cancer metastasis

Mol Cancer. 2017 Apr 11;16(1):76. doi: 10.1186/s12943-017-0646-3.


Cancer cells frequently display fundamentally altered cellular metabolism, which provides the biochemical foundation and directly contributes to tumorigenicity and malignancy. Rewiring of metabolic programmes, such as aerobic glycolysis and increased glutamine metabolism, are crucial for cancer cells to shed from a primary tumor, overcome the nutrient and energy deficit, and eventually survive and form metastases. However, the role of lipid metabolism that confers the aggressive properties of malignant cancers remains obscure. The present review is focused on key enzymes in lipid metabolism associated with metastatic disease pathogenesis. We also address the function of an important membrane structure-lipid raft in mediating tumor aggressive progression. We enumerate and integrate these recent findings into our current understanding of lipid metabolic reprogramming in cancer metastasis accompanied by new and exciting therapeutic implications.

Keywords: Lipid metabolism; Lipid raft; Metastasis.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Disease Progression
  • Humans
  • Hypoxia / metabolism
  • Lipid Metabolism*
  • Membrane Microdomains / metabolism
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Neoplasms / pathology*