Fatty acid synthase (FASN) as a therapeutic target in breast cancer

Javier A. Menendez, Ruth Lupu

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

77 Scopus citations


Introduction: Ten years ago, we put forward the metabolo-oncogenic nature of fatty acid synthase (FASN) in breast cancer. Since the conception of this hypothesis, which provided a model to explain how FASN is intertwined with various signaling networks to cell-autonomously regulate breast cancer initiation and progression, FASN has received considerable attention as a therapeutic target. However, despite the ever-growing evidence demonstrating the involvement of FASN as part of the cancer-associated metabolic reprogramming, translation of the basic science-discovery aspects of FASN blockade to the clinical arena remains a challenge. Areas covered: Ten years later, we herein review the preclinical lessons learned from the pharmaceutical liabilities of the first generation of FASN inhibitors. We provide an updated view of the current development and clinical testing of next generation FASN-targeted drugs. We also discuss new clinico-molecular approaches that should help us to convert roadblocks into roadways that will propel forward our therapeutic understanding of FASN. Expert opinion: With the recent demonstration of target engagement and early signs of clinical activity with the first orally available, selective, potent and reversible FASN inhibitor, we can expect Big pharma to revitalize their interest in lipogenic enzymes as well-credentialed targets for oncology drug development in breast cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1001-1016
Number of pages16
JournalExpert opinion on therapeutic targets
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2017


  • Breast cancer
  • Fatty acid synthase
  • HER2
  • Lipogenesis
  • Obesity
  • Therapeutics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery
  • Clinical Biochemistry


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