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Higher levels of cells originating in bone marrow may be useful in prognosis of liver cancer

A new study found that higher levels of specialized blood cells that originate in bone marrow may potentially be used as a prognostic marker in liver cancer.

A new study found that higher levels of specialized blood cells that originate in bone marrow may potentially be used as a prognostic marker in liver cancer. The study showed that elevated levels of endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs), the precursors to endothelial cells that are found in the lining of blood vessels, were found in patients with inoperable hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) compared to those with tumors that could be treated surgically.

The results of this study appear in the October 2006 issue of Hepatology, the official journal of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD). Published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hepatology is available online via Wiley InterScience at http://www.interscience.wiley.com/journal/hepatology.

HCC is a very aggressive form of cancer that is usually diagnosed when the disease is already at an advanced stage and therefore has a poor prognosis. HCC tumors have extensive new blood vessel formation, which requires the growth of endothelial cells. Recent studies have shown that proteins produced by the tumor may stimulate EPCs, which then travel to the tumor by way of the bloodstream. Although higher levels of EPCs have been associated with multiple myeloma (cancer of the plasma cells produced in bone marrow), their role in solid tumors has not been studied until now.

Led by Prof. Ronnie Poon of the Department of Surgery at the University of Hong Kong, researchers analyzed blood samples from 80 patients with HCC before they were treated and compared them with blood samples from 16 patients with cirrhosis and 14 patients who were healthy. Since EPCs are difficult to isolate and quantify, they measured EPC levels using a specific method that allowed them to
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Contact: David Greenberg
dgreenbe@wiley.com
201-748-6484
John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
3-Oct-2006


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