Chemical inhibition of acetyl-CoA carboxylase suppresses self-renewal growth of cancer stem cells

Cancer stem cells (CSC) may take advantage of the Warburg effect-induced siphoning of metabolic intermediates into de novo fatty acid biosynthesis to increase self-renewal growth. We examined the anti-CSC effects of the antifungal polyketide soraphen A, a specific inhibitor of the first committed step of lipid biosynthesis catalyzed by acetyl-CoA carboxylase (ACACA). The mammosphere formation capability of MCF-7 cells was reduced following treatment with soraphen A in a dose-dependent manner. MCF-7 cells engineered to overexpress the oncogene HER2 (MCF-7/HER2 cells) were 5-fold more sensitive than MCF-7 parental cells to soraphen A-induced reductions in mammosphere-forming efficiency. Soraphen A treatment notably decreased aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH)-positive CSC-like cells and impeded the HER2’s ability to increase the ALDH+-stem cell population. The following results confirmed that soraphen A-induced suppression of CSC populations occurred throughACACA-driven lipogenesis: a.) exogenous supplementation with supraphysiological concentrations of oleic acid fully rescued mammosphere formation in the presence of soraphen A and b.) mammosphere cultures of MCF-7 cells with stably silenced expression of the cytosolic isoform ACACA1, which specifically participates in de novo lipogenesis, were mostly refractory to soraphen A treatment. Our findings reveal for the first time that ACACA may constitute a previously unrecognized target for novel anti-breast CSC therapies ​
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