New study finds that reduced hepatic adenosine kinase expression (ADK) raises the susceptibility to the acute toxic effects of a carcinogen. Low ADK in the liver might be a risk factor and biomarker for the development of cancer. The findings of the study are published in the Journal of Caffeine and Adenosine Research.
Combined results from the study of human liver cancer samples and mice with reduced levels of ADK expression support these findings.
‘Adenosine kinase is a vital regulator of hepatic metabolism. Its deficiency in the liver causes hepatic steatosis and methylation defects. But, a new study finds that reduced ADK can make the liver more susceptible to carcinogenic damage.’
In the article entitled "Adenosine Kinase Deficiency Increases Susceptibility to a Carcinogen," Rkia El-Kharrag, Ph.D., Randy Owen, BSc, and Detlev Boison, Ph.D., Legacy Research Institute, Portland, OR, showed that 64% of patients with liver cancer had lower ADK expression.
ADK is highly expressed in the liver, where it regulates adenosine levels and is important in controlling hepatic metabolism. The researchers used transgenic technology to generate mice with reduced ADK expression and then exposed them to a carcinogen to study the effects on the animals' body weight and survival.
"These results might represent a very significant advance in the field. Further studies should confirm if adenosine kinase represents a new biomarker or a pharmacological target in liver cancer," says Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Caffeine and Adenosine Research Sergi Ferré, MD, PhD, and his research colleagues in the Integrative Neurobiology Section, National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health, Baltimore, MD.