VARI findings could help diagnose and treat liver cancer

Jun 08, 2010

In collaboration with the National Cancer Centre, Singapore, Van Andel Research Institute (VARI) researchers have identified an enzyme that could help diagnose and treat cholangiocarcinoma, a form of liver cancer that strikes up to 3,000 new patients each year in the United States.

Cholangiocarcinoma is the second most common type of cancer that affects the hepatobiliary system, which includes the liver, gall bladder, and bile ducts. The disease is most commonly diagnosed in patients in their 60's and 70's, and prognosis is generally poor with a 5-year survival rate of less than 5%. The only current curative treatment of the disease is surgery to remove all tumor tissue, but most patients' cancer is too advanced upon diagnosis to operate.

Southeast Asia is particularly affected by cholangiocarcinoma, but incidence of the disease is rising in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia.

"An advance in the diagnosis and treatment of this disease could have a profound impact," said Professor Khee Chee Soo, Director of the National Cancer Centre, Singapore. "Cholangiocarcinoma is especially prevalent in Southeast Asia where, because of chronic infections by liver flukes and other factors, it kills thousands each year."

Cholangiocarcinoma and hepatocellularcarcinoma (HCC) are the two main forms of malignant and require different treatments. Researchers found that the enzyme p38delta mitogen-activated (MAPK13) is found in higher levels in cholangiocarcinomas than in HCC or normal tissue, and that it plays a role in the ability of to move and invade normal tissue.

MAPK13 could be used as a complement to current biomarkers in diagnosing cholangiocarcinoma and distinguishing it from HCC, and it could serve as a drug target to help treat .

"Cholangiocarcinomas are notoriously challenging to diagnose and treat," said VARI Distinguished Scientific Investigator Bin Tean Teh, M.D., Ph.D., whose laboratory published its findings in the May 15 issue of the International Journal of Cancer. "Discoveries that lead to earlier detection and diagnosis will improve the long-term survival rate of patients."

Explore further: Chronic inflammation linked to 'high-grade' prostate cancer

Provided by Van Andel Research Institute

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

New test improves detection of liver cancer

Aug 08, 2007

Cancer of the liver is very difficult to detect, and it is a major cause of death in Asia and Africa, with rising incidence in Western countries as well. Now, VIB researchers connected to Ghent University, in collaboration ...

Intrahepatic clear cell cholangiocarcinoma

Jun 02, 2010

Intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (ICC) is a cancer of the bile duct in the liver. The clear cell subtype of ICC is a rare cancer; until now, only 8 cases have been reported. The number of reports is so small that a detail ...

Prognosis of intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma

Jan 15, 2010

Incidence of intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (ICC) is increasing worldwide and its prognosis is very poor. Thus, further studies on its clinical characteristics for early detection and on surgical treatment for better prognosis ...

Finding will improve accuracy of cancer diagnosis

Apr 29, 2009

Van Andel Research Institute (VARI) investigators working in collaboration with Cleveland Clinic researchers have determined that two types of kidney tumors previously thought to be different diseases are actually variations ...

Recommended for you

Unraveling the 'black ribbon' around lung cancer

Apr 17, 2014

It's not uncommon these days to find a colored ribbon representing a disease. A pink ribbon is well known to signify breast cancer. But what color ribbon does one think of with lung cancer?

User comments : 0

More news stories

Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday.

Study says we're over the hill at 24

(Medical Xpress)—It's a hard pill to swallow, but if you're over 24 years of age you've already reached your peak in terms of your cognitive motor performance, according to a new Simon Fraser University study.

NASA's space station Robonaut finally getting legs

Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs. For three years, Robonaut has had to manage from the waist up. This new pair of legs means the experimental robot—now stuck ...

Ex-Apple chief plans mobile phone for India

Former Apple chief executive John Sculley, whose marketing skills helped bring the personal computer to desktops worldwide, says he plans to launch a mobile phone in India to exploit its still largely untapped ...

Egypt archaeologists find ancient writer's tomb

Egypt's minister of antiquities says a team of Spanish archaeologists has discovered two tombs in the southern part of the country, one of them belonging to a writer and containing a trove of artifacts including reed pens ...

Airbnb rental site raises $450 mn

Online lodging listings website Airbnb inked a $450 million funding deal with investors led by TPG, a source close to the matter said Friday.