Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) represents 90% cases of liver cancer that is the second leading cause of cancer death in the world. With the pandemic of obesity and other metabolic syndromes in both adults and children, the incidences of fatty liver diseases and the derived HCC are on their upward track. Emerging metabolomic studies have revealed the perturbation of lipid profiles and other metabolites in fatty liver diseases and HCC. Two common metabolic features including enforced fatty acid oxidation and glycolysis could distinguish HCC from healthy liver and chronic non-tumor liver diseases. The potential translational impacts of fatty acid oxidation are gaining great interests, because many recent investigations have demonstrated that tumor cells were dependent on fatty acid oxidation for cell survival and tumor growth. Blockage of fatty acid oxidation could sensitize to metabolic stress-induced cell death and tumor growth inhibition. Thus, lipid catabolism, in terms of fatty oxidation, is tuned for tumor maintenance but vulnerable to pharmacological disruption. The therapeutic potentials of blocking fatty acid oxidation are yet to be further carefully examined.
Part of the book: Updates in Liver Cancer