Beijing – A team of Chinese researchers has discovered a new mechanism that causes fatty liver patients do not develop liver cancer, and proposes the use of a fungicide drug to prevent and treat it, published in the Xinhua agency.
The results of the research, led by oncology scientist and professor Yu Jun of the University of Hong Kong, were published Wednesday in the North American scientific journal “Science Translational Medicine.”
According to experts, the fungicide drug Terbinafine, which has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration, “may serve as a new therapeutic strategy in the prevention and treatment of liver cancer in patients with NAFLD,” a condition that suffers between 30 and 40% of the adult population in the world.
The health authorities know that NAFLD, prevalent especially in the population with obesity, is a risk factor for the development of hepatocellular carcinoma, a form of liver cancer, but the molecular process by which it develops remains unclear .
Yu’s team analyzed RNA (ribonucleic acid) from samples of non-alcoholic fatty liver tissue and hepatocellular carcinoma as well as healthy adjacent tissue from the patients, which allowed them to observe that there was an overabundance of the SQLE gene in the cancerous tissue.
The researchers also found that mice with hyperactive SQLE genes developed tumors more frequently and that terbinafine, a medication commonly used in the treatment of fungi, especially in the feet and nails, “significantly reduced the size of the tumors.”
According to data from the World Health Organization (WHO) of 2015, that year 8.8 million people died of cancer in the world, of which 788,000 suffer from liver tumors, the most lethal behind those of the respiratory system (trachea , bronchus and lung).