Fatty acid synthase expression in cutaneous melanocytic neoplasms

Payal Kapur, Dinesh Rakheja, Lonnie C. Roy, Mai P. Hoang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Mammalian fatty acid synthase is a multifunctional enzyme complex involved in de novo synthesis of saturated fatty acids, and inhibitors of fatty acid synthase are being evaluated as potential therapeutic agents. Increased fatty acid synthase expression has been demonstrated in subsets of malignancies, including colon, breast, endometrium, prostate and ovarian carcinomas, and recently malignant melanomas. We evaluated the immunohistochemical expression of fatty acid synthase in 155 cutaneous melanocytic lesions. They included 30 congenital nevi, 19 compound nevi, 40 Spitz nevi, 48 primary melanomas, and 18 metastatic melanomas. Fatty acid synthase expression was stronger in malignant melanomas in comparison to conventional nevi and Spitz nevi, and was the highest for metastatic melanoma. Of the primary malignant melanomas, mean fatty acid synthase scores were significantly greater for Clark levels IV and V compared to Clark levels I and II (P < 0.001). In addition, melanomas with Breslow thickness 0.75-1.50 mm and >1.50 mm showed significantly higher mean fatty acid synthase scores compared with those with Breslow thickness <0.75 mm (P = 0.013 and <0.001, respectively). Of interest, congenital melanocytic nevi also showed strong fatty acid synthase expression, similar to that seen in metastatic melanoma. This may represent persistence of or regression to a fetal phenotype since normal fetal tissues are known to express high levels of fatty acid synthase.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1107-1112
Number of pages6
JournalModern Pathology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2005


  • Congenital melanocytic nevi
  • Fatty acid synthase
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Malignant melanoma
  • Melanocytic nevi
  • Spitz nevi

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Fatty acid synthase expression in cutaneous melanocytic neoplasms'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this