Unsaturated fatty acids regulate stemness of ovarian cancer cells through NF-κB

Alejandro Parrales, Atul Ranjan, Tomoo Iwakuma


Cancer stem cells (CSCs), also known as tumor-initiating cells (TICs), constitute a small population of cells within the tumor that has abilities to self-renew like normal stem cells and initiate tumor development (1). CSCs are believed to be responsible for the development of distant metastasis, chemotherapy resistance, and tumor relapse (2). Understanding the regulatory mechanisms behind unique characteristics and vulnerabilities of CSCs would accelerate the development of new therapeutic strategies to prevent tumor relapse and metastasis. Studies have revealed stemness-associated signaling pathways, such as Wnt, Sonic hedgehog (Shh), and Notch, as potential targets for CSCs (3). Increasing evidence demonstrates that upregulation of proteins involved in lipogenesis is also associated with stem-like properties of breast and colorectal cancer cells (4-6).