Researchers have identified genetic signatures that may help predict liver cancer recurrence, according to a study presented at the Annual Meeting of the European Association for the Study of the Liver.

For the study, researchers used whole-genome gene expression platforms to analyze the genomic profiles of 287 patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Included in the study were patients with early HCC with tumoral tissue and adjacent nontumoral cirrhotic tissue. A 46-month follow-up yielded 167 recurrences and 89 deaths.

Results of the study identified two gene signatures, one from the tumor and the other from the cirrhotic liver, that helped to predict which patients would experience poor disease outcomes.  Overall, researchers reported that 20 gene signatures were able to predict survival and or recurrence of HCC.

Continue Reading

“The results of our study demonstrate the potential that molecular classification offers to future clinical management of diseases such as HCC,” said lead author Joseph Llovet, MD, professor from the Hospital Clinic of Barcelona-IDIBAPS and Mount Sinai School of Medicine. “By successfully identifying certain genomic signatures that clearly predict both overall and early recurrence of HCC post-surgery, we now have a clearer focus for future research into therapeutic options that may in time improve patients’ chances of survival.”

According to the press release announcing the findings, HCC accounts for approximately 5.4% of all cancers and is the third cause of cancer-related death, with more than 660,000 deaths per year.