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. 2016;2016:7196280.
doi: 10.1155/2016/7196280. Epub 2016 May 29.

Lactate Dehydrogenase in Hepatocellular Carcinoma: Something Old, Something New

Free PMC article

Lactate Dehydrogenase in Hepatocellular Carcinoma: Something Old, Something New

Luca Faloppi et al. Biomed Res Int. .
Free PMC article


Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the most common primary liver tumour (80-90%) and represents more than 5.7% of all cancers. Although in recent years the therapeutic options for these patients have increased, clinical results are yet unsatisfactory and the prognosis remains dismal. Clinical or molecular criteria allowing a more accurate selection of patients are in fact largely lacking. Lactic dehydrogenase (LDH) is a glycolytic key enzyme in the conversion of pyruvate to lactate under anaerobic conditions. In preclinical models, upregulation of LDH has been suggested to ensure both an efficient anaerobic/glycolytic metabolism and a reduced dependence on oxygen under hypoxic conditions in tumour cells. Data from several analyses on different tumour types seem to suggest that LDH levels may be a significant prognostic factor. The role of LDH in HCC has been investigated by different authors in heterogeneous populations of patients. It has been tested as a potential biomarker in retrospective, small, and nonfocused studies in patients undergoing surgery, transarterial chemoembolization (TACE), and systemic therapy. In the major part of these studies, high LDH serum levels seem to predict a poorer outcome. We have reviewed literature in this setting trying to resume basis for future studies validating the role of LDH in this disease.


Figure 1
Figure 1
Effect of hypoxic microenvironment on metabolism of tumour cell. Under hypoxia conditions, VHL (Von Hippel Lindau suppressor) dissociates from subunit alpha of HIF-1. Thus, HIF-1α binds the beta subunit and promotes the nuclear transcription of several target genes (e.g., LDH) implicated in tumour angiogenesis, cell proliferation, and metabolism.

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