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Study Hints A Treatment For Liver Cancer Through Gene Mutation

Update Date: Jul 09, 2014 08:52 AM EDT

Two genetic mutations in liver cells may drive tumor formation in intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (iCCA), the second most common form of liver cancer, according to a new study. 

The study has discovered a link between the presence of two mutant proteins IDH1 and IDH2 and IDH2 and cancer. Earlier studies have found IDH mutations to be one of the most common genetic differences seen in patients with iCCA. However their mechanism of contributing to cancer development was unknown. 

"iCCA is resistant to standard treatments like chemotherapy and radiation," said Josep Maria Llovet, MD, Director of the Liver Cancer Program, Division of Medicine, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and contributing author, in the press release. "Understanding the molecular mechanism of the disease is the key to finding a treatment that works."

Researchers also demonstrated that the expression of mutant IDH in the adult liver of genetically engineered mice impairs liver cell development and liver regeneration while increasing the number of cells to form a tumor. 

"Our findings provide novel insights into the development iCCA and offers a possible treatment option for patients suffering from this fatal disease," said Dr. Llovet, in the press release.

The study, by pinpointing one pathway of iCCA opens up a new line of investigation to identify biomarkers of the disease. 

The study has been published in the journal Nature

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