, Volume 22, Issue 6, pp 865–876 | Cite as

Fatty acid synthase regulates the chemosensitivity of breast cancer cells to cisplatin-induced apoptosis

  • Shadia Al-Bahlani
  • Hanaa Al-Lawati
  • Moza Al-Adawi
  • Nadia Al-Abri
  • Buthaina Al-Dhahli
  • Kawther Al-Adawi


Fatty acid synthase (FASN) is a key enzyme in fat biosynthesis that is over-expressed in advanced breast cancer stages. Cisplatin (CDDP) is a platinum-based drug used in the treatment of certain types of this disease. Although it was shown that FASN inhibition induced apoptosis by enhancing the cytotoxicity of certain drugs in breast cancer, its role in regulating the chemosensitivity of different types of breast cancer cells to CDDP-induced apoptosis is not established yet. Therefore, two different breast cancer cell lines; triple negative breast cancer (TNBC; MDA-MB-231) and triple positive breast cancer (TPBC; BT-474) cells were used to examine such role. We show that TNBC cells had naturally less fat content than TPBC cells. Subsequently, the fat content increased in both cells when treated with Palmitate rather than Oleate, whereas both fatty acids produced apoptotic ultra-structural effects and attenuated FASN expression. However, Oleate increased FASN expression in TPBC cells. CDDP decreased FASN expression and increased apoptosis in TNBC cells. These effects were further enhanced by combining CDDP with fatty acids. We also illustrate that the inhibition of FASN by either siRNA or exogenous inhibitor decreased CDDP-induced apoptosis in TPBC cells suggesting its role as an apoptotic factor, while an opposite finding was observed in TNBC cells when siRNA and fatty acids were used, suggesting its role as a survival factor. To our knowledge, we are the first to demonstrate a dual role of FASN in CDDP-induced apoptosis in breast cancer cells and how it can modulate their chemosensitivity.


Breast cancer Fatty acid synthase Palmitate Oleate Apoptosis 



We thank Dr. Ikhlas Ahmed for her guidance and advices in this study. This research was supported by the department of Allied Health Sciences, College of Medicine and Health Sciences at Sultan Qaboos University.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shadia Al-Bahlani
    • 1
  • Hanaa Al-Lawati
    • 1
  • Moza Al-Adawi
    • 1
  • Nadia Al-Abri
    • 2
  • Buthaina Al-Dhahli
    • 1
  • Kawther Al-Adawi
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Allied Health Sciences, College of Medicine and Health SciencesSultan Qaboos UniversityAl KhoudOman
  2. 2.Department of Pathology, College of Medicine and Health SciencesSultan Qaboos UniversityAl KhoudOman

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