A specific cholesterol metabolic pathway is established in a subset of HCCs for tumor growth.

TitleA specific cholesterol metabolic pathway is established in a subset of HCCs for tumor growth.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsLu M, Hu X-H, Li Q, Xiong Y, Hu G-J, Xu J-J, Zhao X-N, Wei X-X, Chang CCY, Liu Y-K, Nan F-J, Li J, Chang T-Y, Song B-L, Li B-L
JournalJournal of molecular cell biology
Volume5
Issue6
Pagination404-15
Date Published2013 Dec
Abstract

The liver plays a central role in cholesterol homeostasis. It exclusively receives and metabolizes oxysterols, which are important metabolites of cholesterol and are more cytotoxic than free cholesterol, from all extrahepatic tissues. Hepatocellular carcinomas (HCCs) impair certain liver functions and cause pathological alterations in many processes including cholesterol metabolism. However, the link between an altered cholesterol metabolism and HCC development is unclear. Human ACAT2 is abundantly expressed in intestine and fetal liver. Our previous studies have shown that ACAT2 is induced in certain HCC tissues. Here, by investigating tissue samples from HCC patients and HCC cell lines, we report that a specific cholesterol metabolic pathway, involving induction of ACAT2 and esterification of excess oxysterols for secretion to avoid cytotoxicity, is established in a subset of HCCs for tumor growth. Inhibiting ACAT2 leads to the intracellular accumulation of unesterified oxysterols and suppresses the growth of both HCC cell lines and their xenograft tumors. Further mechanistic studies reveal that HCC-linked promoter hypomethylation is essential for the induction of ACAT2 gene expression. We postulate that specifically blocking this HCC-established cholesterol metabolic pathway may have potential therapeutic applications for HCC patients.

DOI10.4103/0974-2077.118423
Alternate JournalJ Mol Cell Biol