Affiliation: Laboratory of Nutritional Biochemistry, National Institute for Digestive Diseases, Castellana Grotte, Bari-Italy.
Alterations of lipid metabolism have been increasingly recognized as a hallmark of cancer cells. Cancer cells esterify fatty acids predominantly to phospholipids, an essential component of cell membranes. The main pathway along which proliferating cells gain lipids for membrane synthesis is the endogenous mevalonate pathway. Increased synthesis of mevalonate and mevalonate-derived isoprenoids supports increased cell proliferation through activating growthregulatory proteins and oncoproteins and promoting DNA synthesis. The importance of a better knowledge of metabolic changes in lipogenic enzymes pathways, as well as of the role of each biochemical pathway in carcinogenesis, provides the rationale for in-depth study of the oncogenic signaling important for the initiation and progression of tumors. The dependence of tumor cells on a dysregulated lipid metabolism suggests that the proteins involved in this process may be excellent chemotherapeutic targets for cancer treatment. Here, we confirm the vital link between lipogenesis and cell proliferation, and our recent findings suggest that nutritional intervention is an effective and safe way to reduce cell proliferation in experimental models of carcinogenesis. The olive oil diet significantly reduces the protein activities of lipogenic enzymes associated with cell growth. The use of natural dietary components could potentially assist in the management of subjects with metabolic disorders-related tumors.