Loss of acetoacetate coenzyme A transferase activity in tumours of peripheral tissues

Br J Cancer. 1983 Feb;47(2):293-7. doi: 10.1038/bjc.1983.38.


The presence of succinyl-coenzyme A: acetoacetate CoA--transferase (3-oxo acid-CoA transferase), an initiator of ketone body utilization in non-hepatic tissue was examined in a number of animal and human tumours of peripheral tissues. While enzyme levels in heart, kidney, lymphocytes and bladder were high, the tumours contained low or non-detectable levels of transferase activity, comparable with that of normal liver. The activities of acetoacetyl-CoA thiolase paralleled that of the transferase, except for the high activity in liver, and in all cases the tumour content of the enzyme was lower than that of the brain. The activity of 3-hydroxybutyrate dehydrogenase was similar in both normal and tumour tissue. The results indicate that tumours of non-hepatic tissues may be unable to metabolize ketone-bodies and suggest a therapeutic strategy for selective starvation of the tumour by dietary modification.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 3-Hydroxybutyric Acid
  • Acetyl-CoA C-Acetyltransferase / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Coenzyme A-Transferases*
  • Culture Techniques
  • Humans
  • Hydroxybutyrate Dehydrogenase / metabolism
  • Hydroxybutyrates / metabolism
  • Ketone Bodies / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Neoplasms, Experimental / enzymology*
  • Rats
  • Sulfurtransferases / metabolism*
  • Tissue Distribution


  • Hydroxybutyrates
  • Ketone Bodies
  • Hydroxybutyrate Dehydrogenase
  • Acetyl-CoA C-Acetyltransferase
  • Sulfurtransferases
  • Coenzyme A-Transferases
  • 3-ketoacid CoA-transferase
  • 3-Hydroxybutyric Acid