Genetic flaw in males triggers onset of liver cancer, diabetes

December 09, 2013

Michigan State University researchers have uncovered a genetic deficiency in males that can trigger the development of one of the most common types of liver cancer and forms of diabetes.

The research, published in the online issue of Cancer Cell, found that when the NCOA5 gene, present in both men and women, was altered in male mice to a deficient level, a spontaneous reaction occurred producing cells that can lead to hepatocellular carcinoma, a type of liver cancer found to be two-to-four times more prevalent in men than women.

Findings also showed that prior to cancer development there were occurrences of glucose intolerance, a prediabetic condition that is believed to increase the risk of type 2 diabetes in humans. Conversely, the study showed female mice did not develop these diseases.

"Essentially, what this provides is evidence for a genetic susceptibility in males to this particular type of liver cancer and diabetes," said Hua Xiao, lead researcher of the project and associate professor of physiology in MSU's College of Human Medicine. "Ninety-four percent of the male mice we looked at developed the liver cancer, while 100 percent of these mice developed glucose intolerance."

Xiao notes the reason for the distinct outcomes between males and females also may have to do with the different levels of hormones between genders.

"Because estrogen may function through the NCOA5 gene and previously has been found to play somewhat of a protective role against both diseases, the result is a decreased risk in females," he said. "Since males produce lower amounts of estrogen, this can contribute to their susceptibility."

Type 2 diabetes has been widely associated with liver cancer as a common risk factor. Yet due to the increasing prevalence of diabetes worldwide and the limited treatments for hepatocellular carcinoma, this research could open the door to new therapeutic options.

"At this point, it's not known if the genetic deficiency can be reversed and needs to be investigated further," Xiao said. "But if it can somehow be changed through treatments such as drug therapies, this could substantially increase the chances of men in particular warding off these diseases."
-end-
The research was funded by the National Institute of Health. Other investigators included Chin-Lee Wu of Massachusetts General Hospital and Xiao's team members: students Shenglan Gao, Mark Williams, Chengliang Zhang, Zakiya Kelley and visiting scholars Aimin Li, Feiye Liu and Fengsheng Chen.

Michigan State University has been working to advance the common good in uncommon ways for more than 150 years. One of the top research universities in the world, MSU focuses its vast resources on creating solutions to some of the world's most pressing challenges, while providing life-changing opportunities to a diverse and inclusive academic community through more than 200 programs of study in 17 degree-granting colleges.

Michigan State University

Related Diabetes Articles from Brightsurf:

New diabetes medication reduced heart event risk in those with diabetes and kidney disease
Sotagliflozin - a type of medication known as an SGLT2 inhibitor primarily prescribed for Type 2 diabetes - reduces the risk of adverse cardiovascular events for patients with diabetes and kidney disease.

Diabetes drug boosts survival in patients with type 2 diabetes and COVID-19 pneumonia
Sitagliptin, a drug to lower blood sugar in type 2 diabetes, also improves survival in diabetic patients hospitalized with COVID-19, suggests a multicenter observational study in Italy.

Making sense of diabetes
Throughout her 38-year nursing career, Laurel Despins has progressed from a bedside nurse to a clinical nurse specialist and has worked in medical, surgical and cardiac intensive care units.

Helping teens with type 1 diabetes improve diabetes control with MyDiaText
Adolescence is a difficult period of development, made more complex for those with Type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM).

Diabetes-in-a-dish model uncovers new insights into the cause of type 2 diabetes
Researchers have developed a novel 'disease-in-a-dish' model to study the basic molecular factors that lead to the development of type 2 diabetes, uncovering the potential existence of major signaling defects both inside and outside of the classical insulin signaling cascade, and providing new perspectives on the mechanisms behind insulin resistance in type 2 diabetes and possibly opportunities for the development of novel therapeutics for the disease.

Tele-diabetes to manage new-onset diabetes during COVID-19 pandemic
Two new case studies highlight the use of tele-diabetes to manage new-onset type 1 diabetes in an adult and an infant during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Genetic profile may predict type 2 diabetes risk among women with gestational diabetes
Women who go on to develop type 2 diabetes after having gestational, or pregnancy-related, diabetes are more likely to have particular genetic profiles, suggests an analysis by researchers at the National Institutes of Health and other institutions.

Maternal gestational diabetes linked to diabetes in children
Children and youth of mothers who had gestational diabetes during pregnancy are at increased risk of diabetes themselves, according to new research published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

Two diabetes medications don't slow progression of type 2 diabetes in youth
In youth with impaired glucose tolerance or recent-onset type 2 diabetes, neither initial treatment with long-acting insulin followed by the drug metformin, nor metformin alone preserved the body's ability to make insulin, according to results published online June 25 in Diabetes Care.

People with diabetes visit the dentist less frequently despite link between diabetes, oral health
Adults with diabetes are less likely to visit the dentist than people with prediabetes or without diabetes, finds a new study led by researchers at NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing and East Carolina University's Brody School of Medicine.

Read More: Diabetes News and Diabetes Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.