Observation-driven inquiry: Raman spectroscopic imaging illuminates cancer lipid metabolism

Aurelio Lorico, Germana Rappa, Denis Corbeil, Thuc T. Le


Metabolic reprogramming of cancer cells trades energy efficiency for biomass accumulation to support growth and proliferation (1). Indeed, cancer cells are known to have increased endogenous fatty acid synthesis, exogenous fatty acid uptake, and lipid droplet accumulation to support biosynthesis of membrane and signaling molecules (2). Targeting fatty acid biosynthesis has been shown to be an effective means to control cancer cell proliferation (3). Conjugation of drug molecules with lipids for enhanced tumor targeting is an ongoing strategy in drug delivery (4). In addition, intracellular lipid and cholesterol accumulation have been used as novel biomarkers for cancer aggressiveness (5), cancer stem cells (6), and circulating tumor cells (7). Together, lipid metabolism is emerging as an exploitable cellular process for cancer diagnosis and therapy.

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