24 November 2022

Liver cancer: who is to blame?

Scientists have found out how liver cells become cancerous

Svetlana Maslova, Hi-tech+

The team from Switzerland managed to discover the mechanism of transformation of healthy liver cells into tumor cells. Exposure to some targets of this mechanism has already led to the prevention of cancer. Now scientists also hope to find informative biomarkers for the diagnosis of tumors at an early stage.

Liver cancer is one of the most deadly types of cancer. Like all tumor cells, liver cancer cells multiply rapidly and uncontrollably. Scientists understood that such transformations require drastic changes in their metabolism, so they began to study in detail possible strategies in this direction. The findings are published on the website of the University of Basel.

Article by Park et al. Transcription factors TEAD2 and E2A globally repress acetyl-CoA synthesis to promote tumorigenesis is published in the journal Molecular Cell.

It turned out that complex metabolic changes transform mature liver cells into immature progenitor cells, which, in turn, begin to multiply rapidly and develop tumors. This is facilitated by a decrease in the production of the acetyl-coenzyme A molecule, which is important for cellular metabolism.


Further research led scientists to two proteins that explain the inhibition of acetyl-CoA in all tumor cells. "These proteins, transcription factors, regulate a wide range of genes and can trigger metabolic changes," they explain.

In experiments on mouse models, it was shown that the detected proteins turned out to be key targets. Their suppression led to the prevention of cancer in rodents.

In further studies, the scientists plan to continue studying new strategies for the treatment of liver cancer, and also intend to find informative biomarkers for early diagnosis. Liver tumor is often detected at late stages due to the absence of characteristic symptoms, so the appearance of tests for early diagnosis can reduce high mortality.

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