Higher farnesyl diphosphate synthase activity in human colorectal cancer inhibition of cellular apoptosis

Oncology. 2004;67(5-6):351-8. doi: 10.1159/000082918.


Objective: Farnesyl diphosphate synthase (FPPs) produces FPP which is considered a branch-point intermediate in the synthesis of sterols and isoprenylated cellular metabolites. In this study we investigated whether detectable FPPs activity was present in human colorectal cancer (CRC), also evaluating in vitro the role of this enzyme in the growth and apoptosis of CRC cells by using Pamidronate (PAM), a FPPs activity inhibitor.

Methods: The activity level of FPPs was determined in CRC and the normal surrounding mucosa of 50 patients by radiochemical assay. The FPPs mRNA expression was investigated in 15 of 50 patients by quantitative reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). K-ras mutation was evaluated using PCR and restriction enzyme analysis. Cell growth and apoptosis, after PAM treatment, in human CRC cell line DLD-1 were measured by MTT test and DNA fragmentation, respectively.

Results: FPPs activity was detectable in human CRC. FPPs activity and its mRNA were significantly more abundant in cancer samples than in normal mucosa. In vitro PAM resulted in a significant reduction of cell growth and also gave rise to a marked proapoptotic effect.

Conclusions: This study provides the first evidence of the presence of FPPs activity in human CRC. Moreover, FPPs enzyme was found to play a significant role in colon cancer proliferation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Alkyl and Aryl Transferases / genetics
  • Alkyl and Aryl Transferases / metabolism*
  • Apoptosis*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / enzymology*
  • Female
  • Genes, ras
  • Geranyltranstransferase
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mutation
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction


  • RNA, Messenger
  • Alkyl and Aryl Transferases
  • Geranyltranstransferase