Cholesterol is used by cells for biosynthetic processes and for steroid synthesis. Although the role of cholesterol in tumorigenesis is not clear it is known that steroids are important factors in human carcinogenesis. A polypeptide, diazepam binding inhibitor (DBI), which is an endogenous ligand for peripheral benzodiazepine receptors enhances steroidigenesis by promoting cholesterol delivery to the inner mitochondrial membrane which represents the rate-limiting step of steroid biosynthesis. We have assayed the total cholesterol (TC) and the DBI plasma concentrations in patients with liver cirrhosis complicated by hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in comparison with those of uncomplicated liver cirrhosis. TC and DBI levels have been studied in 73 cirrhotic patients and in 23 patients with HCC. Both TC and DBI levels were higher in HCC patients when compared with age, sex and Child–Pugh class matched cirrhotic controls. The values (mean±S.D.) in patients in Child–Pugh class B and C with and without HCC were respectively 128±30 mg/dl vs. 106±27 mg/dl (P<0.01) and 2.05±0.78 pmol/ml vs. 0.78±0.84 pmol/ml (P<0.0001). The data may be the result of the metabolic influence of tumors that enhances steroid biosynthesis during tumor proliferation.
Diazepam binding inhibitor and total cholesterol plasma levels in cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma / Venturini, ; Zeneroli, Maria Luisa; Corsi, Lorenzo; Baraldi, Claudia; C., Ferrarese; N., Pecora; M., Frigo; H., Alho; Farina, Franco; Baraldi, Mario. - In: REGULATORY PEPTIDES. - ISSN 0167-0115. - STAMPA. - 74:(1998), pp. 31-34.