Nutrition and Cancer Prevention
CHAPTER 8: Fatty Acids and Cancer Risk
Published:27 Nov 2019
This chapter summarizes the evidence for alterations in fatty acid (FA) metabolism in cancer. Lipid metabolism, in particular de novo fatty acid synthesis, is an essential cellular process that converts nutrients into metabolic intermediates for membrane biosynthesis, energy storage and the generation of signaling molecules. The activated de novo fatty acid synthesis provides essential structural components and substrates for the generation of signaling molecules. A wide variety of tumors and their precursor lesions undergo exacerbated de novo fatty acid synthesis, irrespective of the levels of circulating lipids. Neoplastic lipogenesis is reflected by significantly increased activity and coordinate expression of several lipogenic enzymes in tumor cells. Upregulation of fatty acid synthase, the key metabolic multi-enzyme that is responsible for the terminal catalytic step in de novo fatty acid synthesis, represents a nearly universal phenotypic alteration in most human malignancies. Increased lipid uptake was also observed in tumor cells. Essential FAs, such as omega-3 and omega-6 FAs, are precursors to eicosanoids and contribute distinctly to tumor progression.