Friday, July 12, 2013

Scientists find new insights into genetic basis of liver cancer

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.
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is one of the most deadly cancers worldwide and has no effective
treatment, yet the molecular basis of hepatocarcinogenesis remains largely unknown. Liver cancer is the fifth most frequently diagnosed cancer and the third leading cause of cancer mortality worldwide. Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), the most common primary liver malignancy, is refractory to nearly all currently available anti-cancer therapies. Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection causes the majority of HCC cases worldwide and is the leading etiological agent in epidemic regions of China, South Korea, Southeast Asia and sub-Saharan Africa (Parkin 2006).
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. Patients with tumors containing TP53 mutations were also less likely to survive. Liver cancer is intractable to nearly all currently available anti-cancer targeted therapies. The 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.


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