Nav: Home

Mayo Clinic researchers take a step closer to developing a DNA test for liver cancer

June 05, 2018

WASHINGTON, D.C. - A group of researchers from Mayo Clinic and Exact Sciences Corporation have completed a phase II study comparing a set of DNA markers to alpha fetoprotein as a method to test for liver cancer. The researchers presented their findings today at the 2018 Digestive Disease Week conference in Washington, D.C.

"We currently test for liver cancer using ultrasound and a blood protein marker called alpha fetoprotein," says John Kisiel, M.D., a gastroenterologist at Mayo Clinic. "Unfortunately, these tests are not very sensitive for curable stage liver cancers, and most patients who need this testing do not have it easily available or [are] not able to receive it often enough to be effective."

Dr. Kisiel and his colleagues developed a simple blood test using abnormal DNA markers that are known to exist in liver cancer tissues. They were able to confirm that the abnormal DNA markers were present in the overwhelming majority of blood samples that came from people with primary liver cancers. Simultaneously, these markers were absent in healthy individuals and individuals with cirrhosis of the liver but no evidence of tumors on their clinical follow-up.

"We were most excited that our DNA markers were able to detect more than 90 percent of patients with curable stage tumors," says Dr. Kisiel. "This is the main reason why we think a DNA test will make difference, compared to currently available tests." Dr. Kisiel says the next step will be to validate these markers in blood testing on much larger patient cohorts.

According to the National Cancer Institute, the number of new cases of liver and bile duct cancer in the U.S. was 8.8 per 100,000 men and women per year. Dr. Kisiel says primary liver cancer is a major cause of suffering and death for patients who have cirrhosis of the liver or patients with hepatitis B infections. Worldwide, liver cancer is the second most common cause of cancer death.
-end-
About Mayo Clinic Cancer Center

As a leading institution funded by the National Cancer Institute, Mayo Clinic Cancer Center conducts basic, clinical and population science research, translating discoveries into improved methods for prevention, diagnosis, prognosis and therapy. For information on cancer clinical trials, call the clinical trials referral office at 1-855-776-0015 (toll-free).

About Mayo Clinic

Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit organization committed to clinical practice, education and research, providing expert, comprehensive care to everyone who needs healing. Learn more about Mayo Clinic. Visit the Mayo Clinic News Network.

Mayo Clinic

Related Liver Cancer Articles:

Report looks at liver cancer, fastest-growing cause of cancer deaths in US
A new report provides an overview of incidence, mortality, and survival rates and trends for liver cancer, a cancer for which death rates have doubled in the United States since the mid-1980s
The IT-LIVER European consortium unveils new TGF-beta functions in liver cancer
Recent research results from the European consortium IT-Liver provide a better understanding of the role of the TGF-beta cytokine in liver cancer.
A novel molecular link between cholesterol, inflammation and liver cancer
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a deadly disease with no effective cure that develops in the context of liver diseases associated with chronic inflammation.
One more piece in the puzzle of liver cancer identified
Manuela Baccarini and her team at the Max F. Perutz Laboratories (MFPL) of the University of Vienna and Medical University of Vienna are one step closer to unraveling the mechanisms behind liver cancer.
New approach to liver transplantation: Using a damaged liver to replace a dying liver
There's new hope for patients with liver disease who are waiting for a donor liver to become available for transplantation.
Damage to tiny liver protein function leads to heart disease, fatty liver
A UCF College of Medicine researcher has identified for the first time a tiny liver protein that when disrupted can lead to the nation's top killer -- cardiovascular disease -- as well as fatty liver disease, a precursor to cancer.
Targeted treatment for liver cancer under way
Researchers at the University of Eastern Finland and Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen have discovered a new molecular mechanism that can be used to inhibit the growth of hepatocellular carcinoma, which is the most common liver cancer.
Transplanted liver cells protect against liver failure after massive hepatectomy surgery
Because liver failure often occurs after an extensive hepatectomy, researchers using animal models investigated safer ways to transplant liver cells post-extensive hepatectomy found that rather than transplanting cells into the liver portal vein, transplantation into an extra-hepatic site, such as the intra-mesentery, a fold of membranous tissue on the posterior wall of the abdominal cavity attached to the intestinal tract, can help protect against post-operative liver failure and aid in survival of the remaining liver.
Scientists root out the 'bad seeds' of liver cancer
Researchers have found the 'bad seeds' of liver cancer and believe they could one day reprogram them to remain responsive to cancer treatment, a new USC study has found.
Retroviral RNA may play a part in liver cancer
Researchers have found that retroviral long-terminal-repeat (LTR) promoters -- a type of repetitive element that are widely distributed in the human genome -- are highly activated in hepatocellular carcinomas, the most common type of liver cancer.

Related Liver Cancer Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Bias And Perception
How does bias distort our thinking, our listening, our beliefs... and even our search results? How can we fight it? This hour, TED speakers explore ideas about the unconscious biases that shape us. Guests include writer and broadcaster Yassmin Abdel-Magied, climatologist J. Marshall Shepherd, journalist Andreas Ekström, and experimental psychologist Tony Salvador.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#513 Dinosaur Tails
This week: dinosaurs! We're discussing dinosaur tails, bipedalism, paleontology public outreach, dinosaur MOOCs, and other neat dinosaur related things with Dr. Scott Persons from the University of Alberta, who is also the author of the book "Dinosaurs of the Alberta Badlands".