Trunk and Branch Drivers Distinguish Early vs Late Mutations in Hepatocellular Carcinoma

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Sara Torrecilla Recio

PhD Student
Mount Sinai Liver Cancer Program – Division of Liver Diseases Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
New York, NY

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the most common type of primary liver cancer, which represents the second-leading cause of cancer related death worldwide. The landscape of molecular alterations in HCC has been thoroughly explored using next-generation sequencing technologies in single biopsies of tumors. However, in the recent years it has been demonstrated that not all the regions of a tumor harbor the same molecular alterations. This intra-tumor heterogeneity may lead to a misinterpretation of the molecular landscape of the malignancy since not all the molecular alterations would be captured by single-biopsies.

Continue reading

Preliminary Study Suggests Low Selenium Levels Contribute To Liver Cancer Risk

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. David Hughes Honorary Lecturer, Centre for Systems Medicine RCSI Physiology & Medical Physics Dept Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Ireland

Dr. David Hughes

Dr. David Hughes
Honorary Lecturer, Centre for Systems Medicine
RCSI Physiology & Medical Physics Dept
Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
Ireland

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Liver cancer is the second most common cause of death from cancer worldwide, and the seventh most common cause of death from cancer in Europe (1).

“The incidence of liver cancers is increasing in developed countries, likely due to Western lifestyle and dietary habits. Liver cancers are often diagnosed at late stages and have limited treatment options,” says IARC scientist Dr Mazda Jenab, one of the study’s authors. “Further research is needed into the modifiable determinants of these cancers and effective prevention strategies.”

A growing body of evidence suggests that suboptimal intakes of the micronutrient selenium contribute to the development of several cancers (2). Selenium is a trace mineral micronutrient that is found in foods like shellfish, salmon, Brazil nuts, meat, eggs, grains, and onions. However, selenium levels in foods depend largely on the levels of selenium in the soil where the food is grown and animals graze. Soil levels tend to be low in many regions in Europe, contributing to lower body levels of selenium in those populations compared with people living in regions with higher soil selenium concentrations, such as North America. In humans, selenium is essential, particularly for the effective functioning of the immune system and in controlling oxidative processes linked to cancer development.

This new study shows that the highest levels of blood selenium or of selenoprotein P, the protein that distributes selenium from the liver around the body, are associated with a decreased risk of developing liver cancer (particularly hepatocellular carcinoma), even when all other major liver cancer risk factors are taken into account. The study also shows that selenium level is not associated with the development of gall bladder or biliary tract tumours (3).

The study was based on the European Prospective Investigation of Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) cohort, headed by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in Lyon, France,  and composed of more than half a million participants across 10 European countries. We used a case–control design of 121 liver cancers and 140 gall bladder and biliary tract cancers matched to equal numbers of individuals free of cancer within the cohort.

Continue reading

Fructose Metabolism Offers Potential New Target for Hepatocellular Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Zhimin (James) Lu, M. D., Ph. D Ruby E. Rutherford Distinguished Professor Department of Neuro-Oncology MD Anderson Cancer Center Houston, TX 77030

Dr. Zhimin Lu

Zhimin (James) Lu, M. D., Ph. D
Ruby E. Rutherford Distinguished Professor
Department of Neuro-Oncology
MD Anderson Cancer Center
Houston, TX 77030

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Dr. Lu: Among primary liver cancers, hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the most common histological subtype, accounting for 70-85% of all cases. HCC incidence is increasing in many parts of the world, including developing countries and developed countries such as the United States. HCC has a very poor prognosis, and the overall 3-year survival rate for patients with HCC is approximately 5%. The potentially curative treatments of HCC are resection and liver transplantation. However, most patients with hepatocellular carcinoma present with advanced disease and underlying liver dysfunction and are not suitable candidates for these treatments. Thus, they generally have a poor prognosis, with a median survival time of less than 1 year. The increasing incidence and mortality rates of hepatocellular carcinoma, along with a lack of effective curative treatment options for advanced HCC, have rendered this disease a major health problem worldwide. Thus, a better understanding of HCC tumorigenesis and the development of better diagnostic and therapeutic approaches based on an understanding of the molecular mechanisms that drive hepatocellular carcinoma progression are greatly needed.

The liver, as a major metabolic organ, catalyzes dietary sugar. Dietary sugar encompasses several carbohydrates, including starch, sucrose, and high-fructose corn syrup, each of which is composed of glucose with or without fructose. Starch, which is found in bread and rice, is a glucose polymer. Sucrose is a disaccharide made up of 50% glucose and 50% fructose. High-fructose corn syrup, a common constituent of soft drinks, is a mixture of approximately 40% glucose and 60% fructose. Dietary fructose is also derived from fruits and vegetables. A molecule of glucose has the same caloric value as a molecule of fructose. However, the human body treats these carbohydrates quite differently. Glucose is used directly by tissues such as the muscles and brain as an energy source. Excess glucose is stored in the liver as glycogen. In contrast, dietary fructose, which is epidemiologically linked with obesity and metabolic syndrome, is almost exclusively metabolized by the liver.

Hepatocellular carcinoma cells enhance glucose uptake and lactate production regardless of the oxygen supply, a phenomenon known as the Warburg effect. However, whether fructose metabolism is differentially regulated in hepatocellular carcinoma and normal liver tissue and, if so, the extent to which this altered carbohydrate metabolism contributes to hepatocellular carcinoma development is unknown.

Continue reading

Hepatitis B: Antiviral Therapy May Lower Risk of Liver Cancer

Dr. Stuart Gordon MD Gastroenterologist Henry Ford Hospital Detroit, MI 48202.MedicalResearch.com Interview with
Dr. Stuart Gordon MD
Gastroenterologist
Henry Ford Hospital
Detroit, MI 48202.

MedicalResearch: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Gordon: In a large American cohort of Hepatitis B patients, those who took antiviral therapy had a significantly lower risk of developing liver cancer than those who did not take such therapy.
Continue reading

Cirrhosis: Data Supports Surveillance for Liver Cancer Screening

Amit Singal MD MS Assistant Professor of Medicine Medical Director, Liver Tumor Program Dedman Scholar of Clinical Care Division of Digestive and Liver Diseases University of Texas Southwestern Dallas TX 75201 - 8887MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Amit Singal MD MS
Assistant Professor of Medicine
Medical Director, Liver Tumor Program
Dedman Scholar of Clinical Care
Division of Digestive and Liver Diseases
University of Texas Southwestern
Dallas TX 75201 – 8887

MedicalResearch: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Singal: We conducted a meta-analysis of current studies to characterize the association between hepatocellular carcinoma surveillance and early detection, curative treatment rates, and overall survival in patients with cirrhosis.  We identified 47 studies with 15,158 patients, of whom 6,284 (41.4%) had hepatocellular carcinoma  detected by surveillance. Hepatocellular carcinoma  surveillance was associated with improved early stage detection (OR 2.08, 95% CI 1.80–2.37) and curative treatment rates (OR 2.24, 95% CI 1.99–2.52). These associations were robust to several sensitivity analyses, including study design, study location, and study period. Hepatocellular carcinoma  surveillance was associated with significantly prolonged survival (OR 1.90, 95% CI 1.67–2.17), which remained significant in the subset of studies adjusting for lead-time bias. Three-year survival rates were 50.8% among patients who underwent surveillance, compared to only 28.2% among hepatocellular carcinoma  patients with tumors detected outside of a surveillance program.

Continue reading

A risk for hepatocellular carcinoma still persists long-term after sustained virological response in patients with hepatitis C associated liver cirrhosis

MedicalResearch.com: eInterview with: Soo Aleman Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, and Infectious Diseases Karolinska University Hospital, at Karolinska Institute 171 76 Stockholm, Sweden,Soo Aleman
Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, and Infectious Diseases
Karolinska University Hospital, at Karolinska Institute
171 76 Stockholm, Sweden,


MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?

Answer: In this long-term, prospective study of 351 hepatitis C infected patients with liver cirrhosis, we found a reduced but persistent risk for hepatocellular cancer after successful treatment with eradication of the virus. This risk for hepatocellular cancer remained at a level of 1% per year for those with sustained virological response, and could persist as long as 8 years after eradication.
Continue reading