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Biologics. 2016 Sep 20;10:139-148. eCollection 2016.

Eag1 channels as potential early-stage biomarkers of hepatocellular carcinoma.

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Department of Pharmacology, Centro de Investigación y de Estudios Avanzados del Instituto Politécnico Nacional.
Instituto Nacional de Medicina Genómica.
Department of Physiology, Biophysics and Neuroscience, Centro de Investigación y de Estudios Avanzados del Instituto Politécnico Nacional.
Centro de Investigación Clínica Acelerada Sc, Mexico City, Mexico.


Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a major cause of cancer death worldwide. HCC is usually asymptomatic at potential curative stages, and it has very poor prognosis if detected later. Thus, the identification of early biomarkers and novel therapies is essential to improve HCC patient survival. Ion channels have been proposed as potential tumor markers and therapeutic targets for several cancers including HCC. Especially, the ether à-go-go-1 (Eag1) voltage-gated potassium channel has been suggested as an early marker for HCC. Eag1 is overexpressed during HCC development from the cirrhotic and the preneoplastic lesions preceding HCC in a rat model. The channel is also overexpressed in human HCC. Astemizole has gained great interest as a potential anticancer drug because it targets several proteins involved in cancer including Eag1. Actually, in vivo studies have shown that astemizole may have clinical utility for HCC prevention and treatment. Here, we will review first some general aspects of HCC including the current biomarkers and therapies, and then we will focus on Eag1 channels as promising tools in the early diagnosis of HCC.


Eag1; astemizole; diethylnitrosamine; hepatocellular carcinoma; ion channels

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