Deciphering fatty acid synthase inhibition-triggered metabolic flexibility in prostate cancer cells through untargeted metabolomics

Ju Eun Oh, Byung Hwa Jung, Jinyoung Park, Soosung Kang, Hyunbeom Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Fatty acid synthase (FAS) is a key enzyme involved in de novo lipogenesis that produces lipids that are necessary for cell growth and signal transduction, and it is known to be overexpressed, especially in cancer cells. Although lipid metabolism alteration is an important metabolic phenotype in cancer cells, the development of drugs targeting FAS to block lipid synthesis is hampered by the characteristics of cancer cells with metabolic flexibility leading to rapid adaptation and resistance. Therefore, to confirm the metabolic alterations at the cellular level during FAS inhibition, we treated LNCaP-LN3 prostate cancer cells with FAS inhibitors (Fasnall, GSK2194069, and TVB-3166). With untargeted metabolomics, we observed significant changes in a total of 56 metabolites in the drug-treated groups. Among the altered metabolites, 28 metabolites were significantly changed in all of the drug-treated groups. To our surprise, despite the inhibition of FAS, which is involved in palmitate production, the cells increase their fatty acids and glycerophospholipids contents endogenously. Also, some of the notable changes in the metabolic pathways include polyamine metabolism and energy metabolism. This is the first study to compare and elucidate the effect of FAS inhibition on cellular metabolic flexibility using three different FAS inhibitors through metabolomics. We believe that our results may provide key data for the development of future FAS-targeting drugs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2447
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Enzyme inhibition
  • Fatty acid synthase
  • Glycerophospholipid metabolism
  • Metabolic flexibility
  • Metabolomics


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