Current liver research: IL-6 contributes significantly to the development of liver cancer

02 August 2017

The second leading cause of cancer mortality worldwide is liver cancer. Often, the cancer is surgically removed – but also returns once in a while. So far, it is unclear which mechanisms significantly contribute to the recurrence of liver cancer after tumor removal. Now, the co-operating scientists from the SFB 841, Prof. Eithan Galun, head of the subproject C3 and Prof. Stefan Rose-John, head of the subproject C1, could show that, by blocking the interleukin-6 signaling pathway, the tumorgenesis in the liver after surgical removal of liver tissue is significantly decreased.

“In our model of chronic inflammatory liver disease, we were able to study a postoperative situation. The development of cancer is impeded by the blockade of interleukin 6 (IL-6), which is an important messenger molecule for the regeneration process of the liver”, says Prof. Galun. Detailed analyzes have shown that IL-6-dependent liver regeneration after surgery is associated with a molecular change in liver cells. Thus can result in accelerated liver carcinogenesis.

“These results could lead to a new therapeutic approach by treating patients with anti-IL-6 drug therapy after removal of their liver tumors in order to prolong the tumor-free survival of patients”, explains Prof. Rose-John.


Lanton T, Shriki A, Nechemia-Arbely Y, Abramovitch R, Levkovitch O, Adar R, Rosenberg N, Paldor M, Goldenberg D, Sonnenblick A, Peled A, Rose John S, Galun E, Axelrod JH

Interleukin 6-dependent genomic instability heralds accelerated carcinogenesis following liver regeneration on a background of chronic hepatitis
Hepatology. 2017 May;65(5):1600-1611. doi: 10.1002/hep.29004. Epub 2017 Mar 23

Further Information:

Find out more about the research areas of the scientific teams around Prof. Eithan Galun and Prof. Stefan Rose-John:

C3 in 60 SecondsVideoarchiv

C3 in 60 Seconds

C1 in 60 SecondsVideoarchiv

C1 in 60 Seconds