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Transl Oncol. 2010 Apr;3(2):91-8.

Expression of Long-chain Fatty Acyl-CoA Synthetase 4 in Breast and Prostate Cancers Is Associated with Sex Steroid Hormone Receptor Negativity.

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Department of Physiology & Neuroscience, NYU School of Medicine, New York, NY, USA.


Previous studies have shown that key enzymes involved in lipid metabolic pathways are differentially expressed in normal compared with tumor tissues. However, the precise role played by dysregulated expression of lipid metabolic enzymes and altered lipid homeostasis in carcinogenesis remains to be established. Fatty acid synthase is overexpressed in a variety of cancers, including breast and prostate. The purpose of the present study was to examine the expression patterns of additional lipid metabolic enzymes in human breast and prostate cancers. This was accomplished by analysis of published expression databases, with confirmation by immunoblot assays. Our results indicate that the fatty acid-activating enzyme, long-chain fatty acyl-CoA synthetase 4 (ACSL4), is differentially expressed in human breast cancer as a function of estrogen receptor alpha (ER) status. In 10 separate studies, ACSL4 messenger RNA (mRNA) was overexpressed in ER-negative breast tumors. Of 50 breast cancer cell lines examined, 17 (89%) of 19 ER-positive lines were negative for ACSL4 mRNA expression and 20 (65%) of 31 ER-negative lines expressed ACSL4 mRNA. The inverse relationship between ER expression and ACSL4 expression was also observed for androgen receptor status in both breast and prostate cancers. Furthermore, loss of steroid hormone sensitivity, such as that observed in Raf1-transfected MCF-7 cells and LNCaP-AI cells, was associated with induction of ACSL4 expression. Ablation of ACSL4 expression inMDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells had no effect on cell proliferation; however, sensitivity to the cytotoxic effects of triacsin C was increased three-fold in the cells lacking ACSL4.

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