Reprogramming of cellular metabolism is a hallmark feature of cancer cells. While a distinct set of processes drive metastasis when compared to tumorigenesis, it is yet unclear if genetic alterations in metabolic pathways are associated with metastatic progression of human cancers. Here, we analyzed the mutation, copy number variation and gene expression patterns of a literature-derived model of metabolic genes associated with glycolysis (Warburg effect), fatty acid metabolism (lipogenesis, oxidation, lipolysis, esterification) and fatty acid uptake in >9000 primary or metastatic tumor samples from the multi-cancer TCGA datasets. Our association analysis revealed a uniform pattern of Warburg effect mutations influencing prognosis across all tumor types, while copy number alterations in the electron transport chain gene SCO2, fatty acid uptake (CAV1, CD36) and lipogenesis (PPARA, PPARD, MLXIPL) genes were enriched in metastatic tumors. Using gene expression profiles, we established a gene-signature (CAV1, CD36, MLXIPL, CPT1C, CYP2E1) that strongly associated with epithelial-mesenchymal program across multiple cancers. Moreover, stratification of samples based on the copy number or expression profiles of the genes identified in our analysis revealed a significant effect on patient survival rates, thus confirming prominent roles of fatty acid uptake and metabolism in metastatic progression and poor prognosis of human cancers.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This study was supported in part by the National Science Foundation (CBET 0941055 and CBET 1510895) and the National Institutes of Health (R01GM089866 and R21CA176854).
PubMed: MeSH publication types
- Journal Article
- Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
- Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.