Lipidomics Profiling Reveals Differential Alterations after FAS Inhibition in 3D Colon Cancer Cell Culture Models

Brian D. Fries, Fernando Tobias, Yijia Wang, Joseph H. Holbrook, Amanda B. Hummon*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cancerous cells synthesize most of their lipids de novo to keep up with their rapid growth and proliferation. Fatty acid synthase (FAS) is a key enzyme in the lipogenesis pathway that is upregulated in many cancers and has gained popularity as a druggable target of interest for cancer treatment. The first FAS inhibitor discovered, cerulenin, initially showed promise for chemotherapeutic purposes until it was observed that it had adverse side effects in mice. TVB-2640 (Denifanstat) is part of the newer generation of inhibitors. With multiple generations of FAS inhibitors being developed, it is vital to understand their distinct molecular downstream effects to elucidate potential interactions in the clinic. Here, we profile the lipidome of two different colorectal cancer (CRC) spheroids treated with a generation 1 inhibitor (cerulenin) or a generation 2 inhibitor (TVB-2640). We observe that the cerulenin causes drastic changes to the spheroid morphology as well as alterations to the lipid droplets found within CRC spheroids. TVB-2640 causes higher abundances of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) whereas cerulenin causes a decreased abundance of PUFAs. The increase in PUFAs in TVB-2640 exposed spheroids indicates it is causing cells to die via a ferroptotic mechanism rather than a conventional apoptotic or necrotic mechanism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Proteome Research
StateAccepted/In press - 2023


  • apoptosis
  • colon cancer
  • FAS inhibition
  • ferroptosis
  • lipidomics
  • spheroids

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Biochemistry


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