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Metabolites 2019, 9(2), 36;

Function, Detection and Alteration of Acylcarnitine Metabolism in Hepatocellular Carcinoma

1,2, 1,2,3,* and 1,4
State Key Laboratory of Chemical Oncogenomics, Graduate School at Shenzhen, Tsinghua University, Shenzhen 518055, China
National & Local United Engineering Lab for Personalized Anti-tumour Drugs, Graduate School at Shenzhen, Tsinghua University, Shenzhen 518055, China
Key Laboratory of Metabolomics at Shenzhen, Shenzhen 518055, China
School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 11 January 2019 / Revised: 7 February 2019 / Accepted: 14 February 2019 / Published: 21 February 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cancer Metabolomics 2018)
PDF [631 KB, uploaded 21 February 2019]


Acylcarnitines play an essential role in regulating the balance of intracellular sugar and lipid metabolism. They serve as carriers to transport activated long-chain fatty acids into mitochondria for β-oxidation as a major source of energy for cell activities. The liver is the most important organ for endogenous carnitine synthesis and metabolism. Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), a primary malignancy of the live with poor prognosis, may strongly influence the level of acylcarnitines. In this paper, the function, detection and alteration of acylcarnitine metabolism in HCC were briefly reviewed. An overview was provided to introduce the metabolic roles of acylcarnitines involved in fatty acid β-oxidation. Then different analytical platforms and methodologies were also briefly summarised. The relationship between HCC and acylcarnitine metabolism was described. Many of the studies reported that short, medium and long-chain acylcarnitines were altered in HCC patients. These findings presented current evidence in support of acylcarnitines as new candidate biomarkers for studies on the pathogenesis and development of HCC. Finally we discussed the challenges and perspectives of exploiting acylcarnitine metabolism and its related metabolic pathways as a target for HCC diagnosis and prognosis. View Full-Text
Keywords: acylcarnitines; hepatocellular carcinoma; metabolite profiling; metabolomics acylcarnitines; hepatocellular carcinoma; metabolite profiling; metabolomics

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Li, S.; Gao, D.; Jiang, Y. Function, Detection and Alteration of Acylcarnitine Metabolism in Hepatocellular Carcinoma. Metabolites 2019, 9, 36.

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