Implications of lipid droplets in lung cancer: Associations with drug resistance (Review)
Affiliations: Department of Surgery, First People's Hospital of Jinan, Jinan, Shandong 250011, P.R. China
- Published online on: June 24, 2020 https://doi.org/10.3892/ol.2020.11769
Copyright: © Jin
et al. This is an open access article distributed under the
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Cancer cells usually show different metabolic patterns compared with healthy cells due to the reprogramming of metabolic processes. The process of lipid metabolism undergoes notable changes, leading to the accumulation of lipid droplets in cells. Additionally, this phenotype is considered an important marker of cancer cells. Lipid droplets are a highly dynamic type of organelle in the cell, which is composed of a neutral lipid core, a monolayer phospholipid membrane and lipid droplet‑related proteins. Lipid droplets are involved in several biological processes, including cell proliferation, apoptosis, lipid metabolism, stress, immunity, signal transduction and protein trafficking. Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)‑activating mutations are currently the most effective therapeutic targets for non‑small cell lung cancer. Several EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors (EGFR‑TKIs) that target these mutations, including gefitinib, erlotinib, afatinib and osimertinib, have been widely used clinically. However, the development of acquired resistance has a major impact on the efficacy of these drugs. A number of previous studies have reported that the expression of lipid droplets in the tumor tissues of patients with lung cancer are elevated, whereas the association between elevated numbers of lipid droplets and drug resistance has received little attention. The present review describes the potential association between lipid droplets and drug resistance. Furthermore, the mechanisms and implications of lipid droplet accumulation in cancer cells are analyzed, as wells as the mechanism by which lipid droplets suppress endoplasmic reticulum stress and apoptosis, which are essential for the development and treatment of lung cancer.