Objective: A key enzyme of fatty acid synthesis, fatty acid synthase (FAS), is expressed in human cancers, including squamous-cell carcinoma of the lung, and long-chain fatty acids are intracellularly transported and/or taken up from blood by fatty-acid-binding proteins (FABPs). Since the liver-type (L-) FABP, a member of the FABPs, is detected in a subset of gastric adenocarcinomas, the expression of FAS, L-FABP and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) was investigated in human lung carcinomas to elucidate the mechanisms of production and transportation of fatty acid(s) in cancer. Methods: Expression of L-FABP, FAS and VEGF in 199 surgically resected lung carcinomas was examined immunohistochemically. Possible associations of the expression of each protein with major clinicopathological factors were analyzed. Results: L-FABP was detected in 60% (120 of 199) of the lung carcinoma cases; detection was increased in large-cell carcinoma (80%) and adenosquamous carcinoma (83%), but low in squamous-cell carcinoma (47%) and in small-cell carcinoma (57%). Overall expression of FAS was 67.3% (134 of 199 cases) and that of VEGF was 86.8% (158 of 199 cases), respectively. Expression of L-FABP was not correlated with the FAS status, but there was a tendency to co-expression of L-FABP and VEGF. There was no association between L-FABP, FAS or VEGF expression and clinicopathological data. Conclusions: L-FABP, FAS and VEGF are highly expressed in human lung cancer, and expression of L-FABP is associated with that of VEGF but not that of FAS, suggesting that L-FABP might be involved in the uptake of fatty acid(s) from the bloodstream.
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