Fatty Acid Synthase Activity in Tumor Cells

  • Joy L. Little
  • Steven J. Kridel
Part of the Subcellular Biochemistry book series (SCBI, volume 49)


While normal tissues are tightly regulated by nutrition and a carefully balanced system of glycolysis and fatty acid synthesis, tumor cells are under significant evolutionary pressure to bypass many of the checks and balances afforded normally. Cancer cells have high energy expenditure from heightened proliferation and metabolism and often show increased lipogenesis. Fatty acid synthase (FASN), the enzyme responsible for catalyzing the ultimate steps of fatty acid synthesis in cells, is expressed at high levels in tumor cells and is mostly absent in corresponding normal cells. Because of the unique expression profile of FASN, there is considerable interest not only in understanding its contribution to tumor cell growth and proliferation, but also in developing inhibitors that target FASN specifically as an anti-tumor modality. Pharmacological blockade of FASN activity has identified a pleiotropic role for FASN in mediating aspects of proliferation, growth and survival. As a result, a clearer understanding of the role of FASN in tumor cells has been developed.


Cancer Fatty acid synthase Lipogenesis 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joy L. Little
  • Steven J. Kridel
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Cancer Biology and Comprehensive Cancer CenterWake Forest University School of Medicine, Medical Center BoulevardWinston-SalemUSA

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