Overexpression of fatty acid synthase (FAS) has been reported in both malignant and premalignant breast lesions, and has been associated with poor outcome. FAS has gained interest as a metabolic target for the treatment of breast cancer based on evidence that blockade with the antifungal antibiotic, cerulenin or synthetic inhibitor C75 inhibits proliferation of breast cancer cells and delays tumor development. Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a class of fatty acids found in beef and dairy products, has been shown to inhibit FAS in bovine mammary adipose. Based on previously well-documented anti-tumor activity of CLA, we hypothesized that one mechanism of CLAs anti-tumorigenic activity may be metabolic blockade of FAS. We fed virgin PyV-MT transgenic mice a diet supplemented with either 1% CLA, as mixed isomers, or control chow for four weeks. Tissue histology was determined by H&E staining. cDNA microarray and real-time quantitative PCR were performed to determine relative expression of lipogenic genes. Western blots were used to examine relative protein expression of FAS. Differences in protein densitometry were analyzed using Students 2-sided T-test. Probability was determined using the binomial sign test. Level of significance for all tests was 0.05. H&E staining revealed a shift towards advanced mammary lesions in the CLA-fed mice compared to control animals (24/26 vs. 11/26) (p for trend < 0.001). Microarray analysis revealed a >2-fold decrease in FAS in the CLA-fed group compared to controls, and was confirmed by quantitative RT-PCR (p < 0.001) and Western blot. The decrease in FAS mRNA expression was unexpectedly associated with more advanced disease (p for trend < 0.01). Conclusions: Dietary CLA suppressed fatty acid synthase in the mammary glands of the PyV-MT mouse while promoting mammary tumor progression.