Fatty-acid synthase and human cancer: new perspectives on its role in tumor biology

Nutrition. 2000 Mar;16(3):202-8. doi: 10.1016/s0899-9007(99)00266-x.


This review documents the changing perspectives on the function of fatty-acid synthase and fatty-acid synthesis in human tumor biology. With the recent discovery that human cancer cells express high levels of fatty-acid synthase and undergo significant endogenous fatty-acid synthesis, our understanding of the role of fatty acids in tumor biology is expanding. Once considered largely an anabolic-energy-storage pathway, fatty-acid synthesis is now associated with clinically aggressive tumor behavior and tumor-cell growth and survival and has become a novel target pathway for chemotherapy development. These findings will ultimately enhance our understanding of fatty acids in tumor biology and may provide new diagnostic and therapeutic moieties for patient care.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cell Cycle
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Fatty Acid Synthases / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Fatty Acid Synthases / physiology*
  • Fatty Acids / biosynthesis
  • Glycolysis
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Neoplasms / enzymology*
  • Neoplasms / pathology


  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Fatty Acids
  • Fatty Acid Synthases