CPT1A-mediated fatty acid oxidation promotes colorectal cancer cell metastasis by inhibiting anoikis

Oncogene. 2018 Nov;37(46):6025-6040. doi: 10.1038/s41388-018-0384-z. Epub 2018 Jul 11.


Anoikis is a critical obstacle to cancer metastasis. Colorectal cancer (CRC) exhibits a high rate of metastasis, leading to death, and the mechanisms involved in anoikis resistance are still unclear. We identified that the fatty acid oxidation (FAO) pathway was activated in detached CRC cells. Multiple genes in the FAO pathway, specifically the rate-limiting enzyme CPT1A, were upregulated in CRC cells grown in suspension. Reactive oxygen species elimination mediated by CPT1A in CRC cells was vital to anoikis resistance. In vivo experiments showed that CPT1A-suppressed CRC cells colonized the lung at a much lower rate than normal CRC cells, suggesting that CPT1A-mediated FAO activation increased metastatic capacity. In clinical tissue specimens from CRC patients, elevated expression of CPT1A was observed in metastatic sites compared with primary sites. Our results demonstrate that CPT1A-mediated FAO activation induces CRC cells to resist anoikis, suggesting that CPT1A is an attractive target for treating metastatic CRC.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anoikis / physiology*
  • Caco-2 Cells
  • Carnitine O-Palmitoyltransferase / metabolism*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / genetics
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Fatty Acids / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic / physiology
  • HCT116 Cells
  • HT29 Cells
  • Humans
  • Lipid Metabolism / physiology
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Nude
  • Neoplasm Metastasis / pathology*
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism


  • Fatty Acids
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • CPT1A protein, human
  • Carnitine O-Palmitoyltransferase