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Genomic Analyses Point to the Potential of Personalized Care for Liver Cancer Patients

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Key Points

  • Out of eight mutational signatures identified in the study, two new mutational signatures for hepatocellular carcinoma were found.
  • Most patients in the study had at least one damaging alteration that could potentially be treated with either an FDA-approved drug or an investigational drug that has been studied in phase I to III clinical trials.
  • Further exploring mutagenic processes through exome sequencing would improve personalized care.

A new study presented at The International Liver Congress 2015 in Vienna showed that using genomic analyses to understand how and when carcinogenic mutations occur in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma may make it possible to identify specific molecular profiles linked to tumor aggressiveness (Abstract RS-1070). These molecular profiles may help identify which patients could benefit from targeted treatment in future clinical trials.

Using exome sequencing, the investigators identified relationships between environmental exposures, such as tobacco smoke, alcohol use, and mutational patterns in hepatocellular carcinoma. The study also determined the landscape of driver genes and pathways altered in different clinical stages and etiological backgrounds. Out of eight mutational signatures identified in the study, two new mutational signatures for hepatocellular carcinoma were found.

Jessica Zucman-Rossi, MD, PhD, Director of the INSERM/University Paris Descartes Functional Genomics of Solid Tumors Laboratory explained, “Mutational signatures help with understanding the biological history of a cancer, and can enable differentiation between ongoing mutational processes and historical ones. This helps identify potential new targets for anticancer therapies.”

Study Findings

In the study, most patients had at least one damaging alteration which could potentially be treated with either a U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved drug (28% of patients) or an investigational drug (86% of patients) which has been studied in phase I to phase III clinical trials.

“Hepatocarcinogenesis is a multistep process in which precancerous lesions can ultimately transform into liver cancer. Genomic analyses, such as exome sequencing, allow us to better understand the mutational processes involved in the development of cancers. This detailed knowledge then helps us to unravel the mutagenic processes, and to optimize personalized patient care,” said Markus Peck, MD, Secretary General, European Association for the Study of the Liver

The content in this post has not been reviewed by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Inc. (ASCO®) and does not necessarily reflect the ideas and opinions of ASCO®.


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