Hepatology, the official journal of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD), published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc., is available online via Wiley InterScience at http://www.interscience.wiley.com/journal/hepatology.
The study is among the first to explore the complete molecular pathogenesis of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). It identified expression profiles of a limited number of genes that accurately predicted length of patient survival and these findings may open the door to the development of more targeted therapies for liver cancer patients.
While gene technology has previously been applied to some specific aspects of liver cancer, researchers led by Dr. Snorri Thorgeirsson of the NIH's National Cancer Institute, sought to uncover molecular prognostic indices that could be applied to the overall patient population with HCC. They investigated variations in gene expression in HCC at diagnosis and compared them to patient survival over time.
The researchers examined 91 HCC tissues, 60 matched non-tumor surrounding liver tissues, and 18 normal liver samples. They isolated total RNA to derive complementary DNA and characterized each sample's gene expression profile. They applied three independent approaches for data analysis to uncover subclasses of HCC and the underlying biological differences between the subclasses.
The study yielded two distinct subclasses of HCC that were highly associated with patient survival and provided new molecular insight into the pathogenesis of HCC. Tumors from the low survival subclass had a strong cell proliferation and antiapoptosis gene expression signa
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