Current liver research: Liver cell cancer – what happens after partial hepatectomy of a chronically inflamed liver?

16 January 2015

Tumor resection is currently a main treatment option for an early-stage hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). In principle, the liver’s high regeneration ability permits the removal of four-fifths of the organ; if healthy, the remained rest can regenerate in a relatively short time to normal organ size. However, relapse risk is high and tumor recurrence is an important complication following this treatment. In 90 percent of cases, a chronic inflammation of the liver precedes HCC. Suitable inflammation models are therefore vital to investigate how carcinogenesis and partial hepatectomy are linked up.

In such a model of inflammation-mediated HCC development Daniel Goldenberg and colleagues compared the genomic and transcriptomic profiles of murine HCC tumors developed either spontaneously or following partial resection. The authors, also including SFB 841 scientists, could show that resection accelerated HCC development in mice by four months. Partial hepatectomy of a chronically inflamed liver seems to induce a discrete molecular pathway characterized by amplification of specific chromosomal regions and expression of specific tumor-promoting genes. In addition, the study identifies a new candidate HCC oncogene (Crem) possibly playing a crucial role for the development of liver cell cancer both in mice and men. Knowledge of the molecular mechanisms of carcinogenesis is an important key to new and more efficient therapy options.

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Original scientific publication:

Ella E, Heim D, Stoyanov E, Harari-Steinfeld R, Steinfeld I, Pappo O, Perlman TS, Nachmansson N, Rivkin L, Olam D, Abramovitch R, Wege H, Galun E, Goldenberg D

Specific genomic and transcriptomic aberrations in tumors induced by partial hepatectomy of a chronically inflamed murine liver
Oncotarget. 2014 Nov 15;5(21):10318-31.

For further information on Prof. Eithan Galun’s SFB project C3 “IL-6, STAT3 and gender disparity in the development of inflammation-associated HCC in the Mdr2-knockout mouse” click here.

PD Dr. Henning Wege is head of the working group “Liver regeneration and telomerase” at the I. Department of Internal Medicine, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf. One research topic of the group is the molecular pathogenesis of hepatocellular tumors. More information.