Research ArticleCancer

Squalene epoxidase drives NAFLD-induced hepatocellular carcinoma and is a pharmaceutical target

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Science Translational Medicine  18 Apr 2018:
Vol. 10, Issue 437, eaap9840
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aap9840

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Antifungal drug may help fight cancer

The rates of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease are increasing with the rising prevalence of obesity and are associated with an increase in the incidence of hepatocellular carcinoma. By studying the mechanism of hepatocellular carcinoma arising in the setting of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, Liu et al. discovered a role for squalene epoxidase, a metabolic enzyme involved in cholesterol biosynthesis. Using a combination of human cancer cells and mouse models of disease, the authors examined the pathway by which squalene epoxidase promotes the development of hepatocellular carcinoma and identified terbinafine, a clinically approved antifungal drug, as a potential intervention.