Background: Hepatocellular carcinomas (HCC) constantly rank among the malignancies with the highest death tolls on the global scale. Moreover, HCC are associated with a limited set of therapeutic options. This is particularly true in the case of advanced stage cancers, where long-term survival is uncommon. For the inoperable, advanced HCC patients, chemotherapy is the main modality of treatment. Due to the lack of known molecular targets, the efficacy of the chemotherapy is limited.

Conclusion: These findings clearly indicate that DNA methylation plays a key role in regulating ACADS expression and that it can be a potential therapeutic target for treating HCC.

Materials and methods: A thorough comparative analysis of 282 cancer samples with 47 normal samples from GEO datasets resulted in the observation that that the level of ACADS was significantly downregulated in HCC. Loss-of-function analyses were then conducted to understand the biological function of ACADS in HCC. It was noted that ACADS was involved in the proliferation and metastasis of HCC. Experiments involving the knockdown of DMNT expression led to the discovery that the expression of ACADS in the HCC cells was significantly increased. The TCGA database was then employed to identify tumor tissue samples which showed higher methylation levels at cg01535453, cg08618068, and cg10174836 (which are the target sites of the ACADS CpG islands) as compared with normal liver tissue samples. All these findings indicated that ACADS might be a novel methylation biomarker associated with HCC.