The Heterogeneity of Lipid Metabolism in Cancer

Joshua K. Park, Nathan J. Coffey, Aaron Limoges, Anne Le

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The study of cancer cell metabolism has traditionally focused on glycolysis and glutaminolysis. However, lipidomic technologies have matured considerably over the last decade and broadened our understanding of how lipid metabolism is relevant to cancer biology [1–3]. Studies now suggest that the reprogramming of cellular lipid metabolism contributes directly to malignant transformation and progression [4, 5]. For example, de novo lipid synthesis can supply proliferating tumor cells with phospholipid components that comprise the plasma and organelle membranes of new daughter cells [6, 7]. Moreover, the upregulation of mitochondrial β-oxidation can support tumor cell energetics and redox homeostasis [8], while lipid-derived messengers can regulate major signaling pathways or coordinate immunosuppressive mechanisms [9–11]. Lipid metabolism has, therefore, become implicated in a variety of oncogenic processes, including metastatic colonization, drug resistance, and cell differentiation [10, 12–16]. However, whether we can safely and effectively modulate the underlying mechanisms of lipid metabolism for cancer therapy is still an open question.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAdvances in Experimental Medicine and Biology
Number of pages18
StatePublished - 2021

Publication series

NameAdvances in Experimental Medicine and Biology
ISSN (Print)0065-2598
ISSN (Electronic)2214-8019


  • Cancer metabolism
  • Fatty acid oxidation
  • Fatty acid uptake
  • Lipid synthesis
  • Lipidomics
  • Metastasis
  • Tumor heterogeneity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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