A Forgotten Corner in Cancer Immunotherapy: The Role of Lipids

Yang Yu, Lei Gao, Yunpeng Wang, Bo Xu, Ewetse Paul Maswikiti, Haiyuan Li, Peng Zheng, Pengxian Tao, Lin Xiang, Baohong Gu, Alexandra Lucas, Hao Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


In the past decade, cancer immunotherapy has achieved great success owing to the unravelling of unknown molecular forces in cancer immunity. However, it is critical that we address the limitations of current immunotherapy, including immune-related adverse events and drug resistance, and further enhance current immunotherapy. Lipids are reported to play important roles in modulating immune responses in cancer. Cancer cells use lipids to support their aggressive behaviour and allow immune evasion. Metabolic reprogramming of cancer cells destroys the equilibrium between lipid anabolism and catabolism, resulting in lipid accumulation within the tumour microenvironment (TME). Consequently, ubiquitous lipids, mainly fatty acids, within the TME can impact the function and phenotype of infiltrating immune cells. Determining the complex roles of lipids and their interactions with the TME will provide new insight for improving anti-tumour immune responses by targeting lipids. Herein, we present a review of recent literature that has demonstrated how lipid metabolism reprogramming occurs in cancer cells and influences cancer immunity. We also summarise the potential for lipid-based clinical translation to modify immune treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number751086
JournalFrontiers in Oncology
StatePublished - Oct 14 2021


  • fatty acids
  • immune evasion
  • immunotherapy
  • lipids
  • tumour microenvironment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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