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BioMed Research International
Volume 2015, Article ID 274585, 17 pages
Review Article

Obesity and Cancer Progression: Is There a Role of Fatty Acid Metabolism?

1Discipline of Physiology, School of Medical Sciences and Bosch Institute, The University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia
2Charles Perkins Centre, The University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia
3Boden Institute of Obesity, Nutrition, Exercise & Eating Disorders, The University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia

Received 30 July 2014; Accepted 24 November 2014

Academic Editor: James McManaman

Copyright © 2015 Seher Balaban et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Currently, there is renewed interest in elucidating the metabolic characteristics of cancer and how these characteristics may be exploited as therapeutic targets. Much attention has centered on glucose, glutamine and de novo lipogenesis, yet the metabolism of fatty acids that arise from extracellular, as well as intracellular, stores as triacylglycerol has received much less attention. This review focuses on the key pathways of fatty acid metabolism, including uptake, esterification, lipolysis, and mitochondrial oxidation, and how the regulators of these pathways are altered in cancer. Additionally, we discuss the potential link that fatty acid metabolism may serve between obesity and changes in cancer progression.