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Transcription factor is potential target for liver cancer treatment
Date:7/6/2011

AUGUSTA, Ga. Altering the body's metabolism could be an effective treatment for deadly liver cancer, researchers report.

The finding that inhibiting heat shock transcription factor 1, or HSF1, prevents liver cancer in mice also is another wake-up call that a low-fat, healthy diet is an effective cancer deterrent, said Dr. Demetrius Moskophidis, Cancer Virologist/Immunologist at Georgia Health Sciences University. HSF1 and its target genes are important to metabolism regulation.

"The principle that we demonstrated is that if we change the metabolism, we can interfere with tumor growth," said Moskophidis, co-corresponding author on the study published in Cell Metabolism.

GHSU scientists accomplished this by removing HSF1 from the mice; HSF1 inhibitors are under development because of their potential for treating a variety of other cancers such as breast, prostate and kidney cancers.

Liver cancer, among the top-10 cancer killers, is on the increase as obesity leads to fatty livers which predispose to liver cancer. Fat can damage the liver in much the say way as alcohol abuse or hepatitis, two major risk factors for liver cancer.

Removing HSF1 thwarts liver cancer by decreasing access to two critical elements: glucose and lipids or fats.

Tumors use glucose for energy as well as the rapid cell division essential to cancer growth, said Dr. Xiongjie Jin, GHSU Assistant Research Scientist and the study's first author. Cancer also needs more lipids to make membranes needed for new cells and so those cells can communicate, Jin said. Lipids also serve as an additional energy source.

Mice lacking HSF1 are hypersensitive to glucose, able to efficiently turn it into energy that can be used by the body so little can be diverted to cell division, said Dr. Nahid Mivechi, Director of the GHSU Center for Molecular Chaperone, Radiobiology and Cancer Virology and the study's corresponding author. As added
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Contact: Toni Baker
tbaker@georgiahealth.edu
706-721-4421
Georgia Health Sciences University
Source:Eurekalert  

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