Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Cancer

pp 1383-1386

Fatty Acid Transport


Is the process through which free fatty acids pass through the membranes of cells. The term may include: uptake of fatty acids from the blood or the extracellular space; release of fatty acids from the cell interior to the extracellular space or blood; and transport of fatty acids within the cell across intracellular membranes during biosynthesis and metabolism. While all three types of transport may occur in tumor cells, this entry concentrates on the characteristics and mechanisms for free fatty acid entry into tumor cells.


Fatty acids serve multiple functions in cells and their transport from arterial blood plasma to the cell interior is necessary for cell growth and survival. Fatty acid oxidation is a major source of energy for heat production and generation of ATP for biosynthesis and growth. During metabolism fatty acids are incorporated into several complex lipids required for cell structure and function. Fatty acids also play imp ...

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