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Identification of pre-diagnostic lipid sets associated with liver cancer risk using untargeted lipidomics and chemical set analysis: A nested case-control study within the ATBC cohort.

  • Barupal, Dinesh
  • Ramos, Mark
  • Florio, Andrea
  • Wheeler, William
  • Weinstein, Stephanie
  • Albanes, Demetrius
  • Graubard, Barry
  • Petrick, Jessica
  • McGlynn, Katherine
  • Fiehn, Oliver
Publication Date
Feb 01, 2024
eScholarship - University of California
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In pre-disposed individuals, a reprogramming of the hepatic lipid metabolism may support liver cancer initiation. We conducted a high-resolution mass spectrometry based untargeted lipidomics analysis of pre-diagnostic serum samples from a nested case-control study (219 liver cancer cases and 219 controls) within the Alpha-Tocopherol, Beta-Carotene Cancer Prevention (ATBC) Study. Out of 462 annotated lipids, 158 (34.2%) were associated with liver cancer risk in a conditional logistic regression analysis at a false discovery rate (FDR) <0.05. A chemical set enrichment analysis (ChemRICH) and co-regulatory set analysis suggested that 22/28 lipid classes and 47/83 correlation modules were significantly associated with liver cancer risk (FDR <0.05). Strong positive associations were observed for monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA), triacylglycerols (TAGs) and phosphatidylcholines (PCs) having MUFA acyl chains. Negative associations were observed for sphingolipids (ceramides and sphingomyelins), lysophosphatidylcholines, cholesterol esters and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) containing TAGs and PCs. Stearoyl-CoA desaturase enzyme 1 (SCD1), a rate limiting enzyme in fatty acid metabolism and ceramidases seems to be critical in this reprogramming. In conclusion, our study reports pre-diagnostic lipid changes that provide novel insights into hepatic lipid metabolism reprogramming may contribute to a pro-cell growth and anti-apoptotic tissue environment and, in turn, support liver cancer initiation.

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