Differential Tissue Fatty Acids Profiling between Colorectal Cancer Patients with and without Synchronous Metastasis

Maria Notarnicola, Dionigi Lorusso, Valeria Tutino, Valentina De Nunzio, Giampiero De Leonardis, Gisella Marangelli, Vito Guerra, Nicola Veronese, Maria Gabriella Caruso, Gianluigi Giannelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The early detection of colorectal cancer and determination of its metastatic potential are important factors to set up more efficacious therapeutic strategies. In the present study, we hypothesize that fatty acids analysis in colorectal cancer patients can discriminate between metastatic and non-metastatic patients. Fifty-one consecutive patients with histologically proven colorectal cancer were enrolled in the study and the presence of synchronous metastasis was detected in 25 of these 51 patients. Fatty acid profile analysis in red blood cell membranes was not able to discriminate the metastatic colorectal cancer patients from those without metastasis. However, significant differences in the tumor tissue fatty acid profile were found in metastatic cancer patients when compared to patients without metastasis. Metastatic patients showed significantly lower percentages of Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and higher levels of γ-linolenic acid (GLA), a n-3- and n-6-Polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA), respectively. Our findings, suggesting that membrane lipid rearrangement could influence the cellular function and make the cell more prone to metastasis, offer the opportunity to develop nutritional strategies that may be helpful in the prevention and treatment of colorectal cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)962
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Mar 23 2018


  • Colorectal Neoplasms/metabolism
  • Eicosapentaenoic Acid/metabolism
  • Fatty Acids/metabolism
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3/metabolism
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-6/metabolism
  • Humans
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • gamma-Linolenic Acid/metabolism


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