Fatty Acid Oxidation Mediated by Malonyl-CoA Decarboxylase Represses Renal Cell Carcinoma Progression

Cancer Res. 2023 Dec 1;83(23):3920-3939. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-23-0969.


Fatty acid metabolism reprogramming is a prominent feature of clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC). Increased lipid storage supports ccRCC progression, highlighting the importance of understanding the molecular mechanisms driving altered fatty acid synthesis in tumors. Here, we identified that malonyl-CoA decarboxylase (MLYCD), a key regulator of fatty acid anabolism, was downregulated in ccRCC, and low expression correlated with poor prognosis in patients. Restoring MLYCD expression in ccRCC cells decreased the content of malonyl CoA, which blocked de novo fatty acid synthesis and promoted fatty acid translocation into mitochondria for oxidation. Inhibition of lipid droplet accumulation induced by MLYCD-mediated fatty acid oxidation disrupted endoplasmic reticulum and mitochondrial homeostasis, increased reactive oxygen species levels, and induced ferroptosis. Moreover, overexpressing MLYCD reduced tumor growth and reversed resistance to sunitinib in vitro and in vivo. Mechanistically, HIF2α inhibited MLYCD translation by upregulating expression of eIF4G3 microexons. Together, this study demonstrates that fatty acid catabolism mediated by MLYCD disrupts lipid homeostasis to repress ccRCC progression. Activating MLYCD-mediated fatty acid metabolism could be a promising therapeutic strategy for treating ccRCC.

Significance: MLYCD deficiency facilitates fatty acid synthesis and lipid droplet accumulation to drive progression of renal cell carcinoma, indicating inducing MYLCD as a potential approach to reprogram fatty acid metabolism in kidney cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Renal Cell* / pathology
  • Fatty Acids / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Kidney Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Lipid Metabolism


  • malonyl-CoA decarboxylase
  • Fatty Acids