Cancer cells in the liver appear to have a lower metabolism of sugar than other cells, which could be a way to diagnose cancer.
The study reveals that a gene called KHK (ketohexokinase or fructokinase) is expressed differently in cancerous versus normal liver tissue.
Senior author Zhimin Lu, professor of neuro-oncology at MD Anderson, says:
“Normal liver cells catalyze both glucose and fructose for energy, amino acid and lipid production. However, we found that liver tumors stopped using fructose. Thus, monitoring fructose metabolism could potentially be used for liver cancer diagnosis.”
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