Fatty acid synthase (FAS) predictive strength in poorly differentiated early breast carcinomas

Tumori. Jan-Feb 1999;85(1):35-40.


Aims and background: Many normal and human cancer tissues express fatty acid synthase (FAS), the major enzyme required for endogenous fatty acid biosynthesis. Strong expression of FAS seems to be associated with a poor prognosis. This study examines the strength of FAS and other common markers of relapse in poorly differentiated breast carcinoma.

Materials and methods: Fifty-one patients with poorly differentiated ductal infiltrating breast carcinomas were followed up for more than 10 years. Immunohistochemical detection of FAS was associated with morphological features of the tumors, with immunohistochemical expression of c-erbB-2, cathepsin D, estrogen and progesterone receptor status and with DNA ploidy in order to detect a statistical correlation.

Results: The chi-square test revealed a correlation between FAS and peritumoral lymphatic vessel invasion (PLVI) (P = 0.001). Univariate analysis showed that FAS was correlated with disease-free survival (DFS) (P = 0.0001). Other prognosticators associated with DFS were PLVI (P = 0.002), estrogen (P = 0.008) and progesterone receptor status (P = 0.007). Bivariate analysis showed that FAS was a further prognostic discriminant of DFS within the ER, PgR and PLVI subsets.

Discussion: FAS is a reliable prognosticator of recurrence in poorly differentiated early breast carcinomas. Association of FAS with PLVI may be useful to plan a correct follow-up in patients with breast neoplasms.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism*
  • Breast Neoplasms / enzymology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Fatty Acid Synthases / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic*
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Middle Aged
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prognosis
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Fatty Acid Synthases