July 11, 2013

New Insights Into Genetic Basis Of Deadly Liver Cancer


Health & Medicine
July 12, 2013

Researchers have tracked down recurrent genetic abnormalities in hepatocellular carcinoma, a deadly form of liver cancer

Asian Scientist (Jul. 12, 2013) - An international team of researchers has used whole-genome sequencing to track down recurrent genetic abnormalities in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), a deadly form of liver cancer.

HCC is more common in parts of Africa and Asia, where the patients with hepatitis B or C have a higher risk of developing liver cancer.

In their study, published online in Genome Research, the researchers found that the tumor suppressor gene TP53 was mutated in more than one-third of tumors when they sequenced tumor and normal tissue samples from 88 HCC patients in Hong Kong.

Patients with tumors containing TP53 mutations were also less likely to survive.

An oncogene called beta-catenin was often altered, too, they found, as were other components of the beta-catenin pathway and a signaling pathway that includes JAK1 and STAT gene products.

“Liver cancer is intractable to nearly all currently available anti-cancer targeted therapies. Our findings in this study provide a better understanding of molecular basis of hepatocarcinogenesis and provide new clues to improving the diagnosis and treatment of liver cancer in the future,” said Hancheng Zheng, a leader of the project.

The researchers are hopeful that existing drugs targeting these key genes in HCC, particularly JAK1, can be tested for the treatment of HCC in the near future.

The article can be found at: Kan et al. (2013) Whole Genome Sequencing Identifies Recurrent Mutations In Hepatocellular Carcinoma.


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