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Review Article

Lipids as Biomarkers of Cancer and Bacterial Infections

[ Vol. 26 , Issue. 11 ]


Gerald Larrouy-Maumus *   Pages 1924 - 1932 ( 9 )


Lipids are ubiquitous molecules, known to play important roles in various cellular processes. Alterations to the lipidome can therefore be used as a read-out of the signs of disease, highlighting the importance to consider lipids as biomarkers in addition of nucleic acid and proteins. Lipids are among the primary structural and functional constituents of biological tissues, especially cell membranes. Along with membrane formation, lipids play also a crucial role in cell signalling, inflammation and energy storage. It was shown recently that lipid metabolism disorders play an important role in carcinogenesis and development. As well, the role of lipids in disease is particularly relevant for bacterial infections, during which several lipid bacterial virulence factors are recognized by the human innate immune response, such as lipopolysaccharide in Gram-negative bacteria, lipoteichoic acid in Gram-positive bacteria, and lipoglycans in mycobacteria. Compared to nucleic acids and proteins, a complete analysis of the lipidome, which is the comprehensive characterization of different lipid families, is usually very challenging due to the heterogeneity of lipid classes and their intrinsic physicoproperties caused by variations in the constituents of each class. Understanding the chemical diversity of lipids is therefore crucial to understanding their biological relevance and, as a consequence, their use as potential biomarkers for non-infectious and infectious diseases. This mini-review exposes the current knowledge and limitations of the use of lipids as biomarkers of the top global killers which are cancer and bacterial infections.


Lipids, bacterial infection, tuberculosis, antibiotics resistance, cancer, biomarkers.


Department of Life Sciences, MRC Centre for Molecular Bacteriology and Infection, Faculty of Natural Sciences, Imperial College London, London

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