Spot 14 (THRSP, S14) is a nuclear protein involved in the regulation of genes required for fatty acid synthesis in normal and malignant mammary epithelial and adipose cells. Harvatine and Bauman (1) reported that conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) inhibits S14 gene expression in bovine mammary and mouse adipose tissues and reduces milk fat production in cows. We hypothesized that CLA inhibits S14 gene expression in human breast cancer and liposarcoma cells and that this will retard their growth. Exposure of T47D breast cancer cells to a mixture of CLA isomers reduced the expression of the S14 and fatty acid synthase (FAS) genes. The mixture caused a dose-related inhibition of T47D cell growth, as did pure c9, t11 and t10, c12-CLA, but not linoleic acid. Similar effects were observed in MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells. Provision of 8 mircoM palmitate fully (CLA mix, t10, c12-CLA) or partially (c9, t11-CLA) reversed the antiproliferative effect in T47D cells. CLA likewise suppressed levels of S14 and FAS mRNAs in liposarcoma cells and caused growth inhibition that was prevented by palmitic acid. CLA did not affect the growth of nonlipogenic HeLa cells or human fibroblasts. We conclude that as in bovine mammary and mouse adipose cells, CLA suppresses S14 and FAS gene expression in human breast cancer and liposarcoma cells. Rescue from the antiproliferative effect of CLA by palmitic acid indicates that reduced tumor lipogenesis is a major mechanism for the anticancer effects of CLA.