Ovarian cancer—why lipids matter

Guangyuan Zhao, Horacio Cardenas, Daniela Matei*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


This review highlights recent advances in the understanding of the relevance of altered lipid metabolic pathways contributing to the poor prognosis of high grade serous ovarian cancer, as they relate to cancer metastasis and cancer stemness. Increased lipid uptake regulated by the receptor CD36 and the transport protein FABP4 has been implicated in ovarian cancer metastasis. The symbiotic relationship between ovarian cancer cells and adipocytes was shown to be important for sustaining widespread peritoneal and omental metastasis. Increased lipogenesis dependent on the fatty acid desaturase SCD1 was detected in ovarian cancer stem cells. Furthermore, response to therapy, specifically to platinum, was linked to increased fatty acid biogenesis, while the survival of drug tolerant cells was shown to depend on lipid peroxidation. These recent findings suggest that lipids are necessary elements supporting oncogenic signaling and the energetic needs of rapidly proliferating cancer cells. New strategies targeting key enzymes involved in lipid uptake or utilization in cancer cells have been shown to exert anti-tumor effects and are being developed as cancer interventions in combination with chemotherapy or immunotherapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1870
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2019


  • Lipid metabolism
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Stem cell

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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