The expanded role of fatty acid metabolism in cancer: new aspects and targets

Precis Clin Med. 2019 Sep;2(3):183-191. doi: 10.1093/pcmedi/pbz017. Epub 2019 Oct 1.


Cancer cells undergo metabolic reprogramming to support cell proliferation, growth, and dissemination. Alterations in lipid metabolism, and specifically the uptake and synthesis of fatty acids (FAs), comprise one well-documented aspect of this reprogramming. Recent studies have revealed an expanded range of roles played by FA in promoting the aggressiveness of cancer while simultaneously identifying new potential targets for cancer therapy. This article provides a brief review of these advances in our understanding of FA metabolism in cancer, highlighting both recent discoveries and the inherent challenges caused by the metabolic plasticity of cancer cells in targeting lipid metabolism for cancer therapy.

Keywords: cancer; fatty acid metabolism; lipid metabolism; metabolic plasticity.

Publication types

  • Review