The tumor microenvironment can be hypoxic, acidic, and deficient in nutrients, thus causing the metabolism of tumor cells as well as the neighboring stromal cells to be remodelled to facilitate tumor survival, proliferation, and metastasis. Abnormal tumor lipid metabolism is a fairly new field, which has received attention in the past few years. Cross-talk between tumor cells and tumor-associated stromal cells modulates the high metabolic needs of the tumor. Fatty acid turnover is high in tumor cells to meet the energy as well as synthetic requirements of the growing tumor. Lipolysis of lipids stored in lipid droplets was earlier considered to be solely carried out by cytosolic lipases. However recent studies demonstrate that lipophagy (autophagic degradation of lipids by acidic lipases) serves as an alternate pathway for the degradation of lipid droplets. Involvement of lipophagy in lipid turnover makes it a crucial player in tumorigenesis and metastasis. In this review we discuss the metabolic reprogramming of tumor cells with special focus on lipid metabolism. We also address the lipid turnover machinery in the tumor cell, especially the lipophagic pathway. Finally, we integrate the current understanding of lipophagy with tumor lipid metabolism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)582-589
Number of pages8
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Issue number3
StatePublished - Oct 7 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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