2009, pp 39-59
Date: 14 Dec 2008

The Lipogenic Switch in Cancer

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Introduction

Several decades ago it was observed that tumor tissues show a high rate of fatty acid synthesis. In contrast to normal cells, almost all fatty acids in cancer cells are derived from de novo synthesis, irrespective of the nutritional supply of lipids via the circulation. This enhanced lipogenic activity in tumors is associated with a markedly increased expression and/or activation of lipogenic enzymes. This phenomenon, referred to here as the lipogenic switch is found in nearly all examined cancer types, occurs very early in cancer development, and is more pronounced in more aggressive tumors, rendering changes in the lipogenic pathway one of the most common molecular changes associated with the development and progression of cancer. In this chapter we will review the evidence for the existence of a lipogenic switch in cancer, the mechanisms underlying this remarkable phenomenon, its role in cancer cell biology, and its potential for cancer intervention.