Complex reprogramming of cellular
metabolism to support tumorigenesis & survival is a hallmark of cancer.
Recently Ericksen et al observed that the suppression of branched-chain amino
acids (BCAA) catabolic enzymes is a unique signature in human hepatocellular
carcinomas (HCC), and the degree of downregulation correlates strongly with
tumor grades and survival outcomes1. Specifically the metabolic
activity of the branched-chain keto-acid dehydrogenase (BCKDH) complex was
significantly reduced. We hypothesize that this modulation can be measured in
vivo by tracking the metabolism of hyperpolarized carbon-13 ketoisocaproate.