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PURPOSE - Several observational studies suggest that metformin reduces incidence cancer risk; however, many of these studies suffer from time-related biases and several cancer outcomes have not been investigated due to small sample sizes.
METHODS - We constructed a propensity score-matched retrospective cohort of 84,434 veterans newly prescribed metformin or a sulfonylurea as monotherapy. We used Cox proportional hazard regression to assess the association between metformin use compared to sulfonylurea use and incidence cancer risk for 10 solid tumors. We adjusted for clinical covariates including hemoglobin A1C, antihypertensive and lipid-lowering medications, and body mass index. Incidence cancers were defined by ICD-9-CM codes.
RESULTS - Among 42,217 new metformin users and 42,217 matched-new sulfonylurea users, we identified 2,575 incidence cancers. Metformin was inversely associated with liver cancer (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR] = 0.44, 95% CI 0.31, 0.64) compared to sulfonylurea. We found no association between metformin use and risk of incidence bladder, breast, colorectal, esophageal, gastric, lung, pancreatic, prostate, or renal cancer when compared to sulfonylurea use.
CONCLUSIONS - In this large cohort study that accounted for time-related biases, we observed no association between the use of metformin and most cancers; however, we found a strong inverse association between metformin and liver cancer. Randomized trials of metformin for prevention of liver cancer would be useful to verify these observations.
BACKGROUND - For Chinese patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), surgical resection is the most important treatment to achieve long-term survival for patients with an early-stage tumor, and yet the prognosis after surgery is diverse. We aimed to construct a scoring system (Shanghai Score) for individualized prognosis estimation and adjuvant treatment evaluation.
METHODS - A multivariate Cox proportional hazards model was constructed based on 4166 HCC patients undergoing resection during 2001-2008 at Zhongshan Hospital. Age, hepatitis B surface antigen, hepatitis B e antigen, partial thromboplastin time, total bilirubin, alkaline phosphatase, γ-glutamyltransferase, α-fetoprotein, tumor size, cirrhosis, vascular invasion, differentiation, encapsulation, and tumor number were finally retained by a backward step-down selection process with the Akaike information criterion. The Harrell's concordance index (C-index) was used to measure model performance. Shanghai Score is calculated by summing the products of the 14 variable values times each variable's corresponding regression coefficient. Totally 1978 patients from Zhongshan Hospital undergoing resection during 2009-2012, 808 patients from Eastern Hepatobiliary Surgery Hospital during 2008-2010, and 244 patients from Tianjin Medical University Cancer Hospital during 2010-2011 were enrolled as external validation cohorts. Shanghai Score was also implied in evaluating adjuvant treatment choices based on propensity score matching analysis.
RESULTS - Shanghai Score showed good calibration and discrimination in postsurgical HCC patients. The bootstrap-corrected C-index (confidence interval [CI]) was 0.74 for overall survival (OS) and 0.68 for recurrence-free survival (RFS) in derivation cohort (4166 patients), and in the three independent validation cohorts, the CI s for OS ranged 0.70-0.72 and that for RFS ranged 0.63-0.68. Furthermore, Shanghai Score provided evaluation for adjuvant treatment choices (transcatheter arterial chemoembolization or interferon-α). The identified subset of patients at low risk could be ideal candidates for curative surgery, and subsets of patients at moderate or high risk could be recommended with possible adjuvant therapies after surgery. Finally, a web server with individualized outcome prediction and treatment recommendation was constructed.
CONCLUSIONS - Based on the largest cohort up to date, we established Shanghai Score - an individualized outcome prediction system specifically designed for Chinese HCC patients after surgery. The Shanghai Score web server provides an easily accessible tool to stratify the prognosis of patients undergoing liver resection for HCC.
Liver cancer has the second highest worldwide cancer mortality rate and has limited therapeutic options. We analyzed 363 hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cases by whole-exome sequencing and DNA copy number analyses, and we analyzed 196 HCC cases by DNA methylation, RNA, miRNA, and proteomic expression also. DNA sequencing and mutation analysis identified significantly mutated genes, including LZTR1, EEF1A1, SF3B1, and SMARCA4. Significant alterations by mutation or downregulation by hypermethylation in genes likely to result in HCC metabolic reprogramming (ALB, APOB, and CPS1) were observed. Integrative molecular HCC subtyping incorporating unsupervised clustering of five data platforms identified three subtypes, one of which was associated with poorer prognosis in three HCC cohorts. Integrated analyses enabled development of a p53 target gene expression signature correlating with poor survival. Potential therapeutic targets for which inhibitors exist include WNT signaling, MDM4, MET, VEGFA, MCL1, IDH1, TERT, and immune checkpoint proteins CTLA-4, PD-1, and PD-L1.
Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
PURPOSE - Non-invasive imaging is central to hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) diagnosis; however, conventional modalities are limited by smaller tumors and other chronic diseases that are often present in patients with HCC, such as cirrhosis. This pilot study evaluated the feasibility of (4S)-4-(3-[F]fluoropropyl)-L-glutamic acid ([F]FSPG) positron emission tomography (PET)/X-ray computed tomography (CT) to image HCC. [F]FSPG PET/CT was compared to standard-of-care (SOC) magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and CT, and [C]acetate PET/CT, commonly used in this setting. We report the largest cohort of HCC patients imaged to date with [F]FSPG PET/CT and present the first comparison to [C]acetate PET/CT and SOC imaging. This study represents the first in a US HCC population, which is distinguished by different underlying comorbidities than non-US populations.
PROCEDURES - x transporter RNA and protein levels were evaluated in HCC and matched liver samples from The Cancer Genome Atlas (n = 16) and a tissue microarray (n = 83). Eleven HCC patients who underwent prior MRI or CT scans were imaged by [F]FSPG PET/CT, with seven patients also imaged with [C]acetate PET/CT.
RESULTS - x transporter RNA and protein levels were elevated in HCC samples compared to background liver. Over 50 % of low-grade HCCs and ~70 % of high-grade tumors exceeded background liver protein expression. [F]FSPG PET/CT demonstrated a detection rate of 75 %. [F]FSPG PET/CT also identified an HCC devoid of typical MRI enhancement pattern. Patients scanned with [F]FSPG and [C]acetate PET/CT exhibited a 90 and 70 % detection rate, respectively. In dually positive tumors, [F]FSPG accumulation consistently resulted in significantly greater tumor-to-liver background ratios compared with [C]acetate PET/CT.
CONCLUSIONS - [F]FSPG PET/CT is a promising modality for HCC imaging, and larger studies are warranted to examine [F]FSPG PET/CT impact on diagnosis and management of HCC. [F]FSPG PET/CT may also be useful for phenotyping HCC tumor metabolism as part of precision cancer medicine.
We aimed at evaluating the risk of liver cancer in different levels of HBsAg among Chinese men and women. We carried out a nested case-control study including 363 cases and 3,511 controls in two population-based cohorts in Shanghai. Plasma samples collected at enrollment were quantified for HBsAg levels using the Architect QT assay. Conditional logistic regression was performed to estimate the odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs) for liver cancer, with adjustment for potential confounders. HBsAg was detected in 6.29% of control subjects overall (7.02% in men and 4.98% in women). HBsAg levels were positively associated with liver cancer risk in a dose-response manner (ptrend < 0.001). Such association showed a significant gender disparity. With increasing levels of HBsAg, liver cancer risks rose more steeply in men than in women. In men, the adjusted ORs increased from 7.27 (95% CI: 3.49-15.15) at the lowest detectable level of HBsAg (5-9 IU/ml) to 7.16 (95% CI: 3.21-15.96), 34.30 (95% CI: 16.94-69.44), and 47.33 (95% CI: 23.50-95.34) at the highest level of HBsAg (≥1,000 IU/ml) compared to those negative for HBsAg. The corresponding ORs were much lower for women, from 1.37 (95% CI: 0.25-7.47), 3.81 (95% CI: 1.09-13.28), 7.36 (95% CI: 2.41-22.46) and 16.86 (95% CI: 7.24-39.27), respectively. HBsAg quantification has potential to distinguish individuals at different risks of liver cancer. Men with the lowest detectable level of HBsAg should still pay attention to their liver cancer risks, but those with a higher level may be given a higher priority in future liver cancer surveillance program.
© 2016 UICC.
BACKGROUND - The spectrum of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) describes disease conditions deteriorating from nonalcoholic fatty liver (NAFL) to nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) to cirrhosis (CIR) to hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). From a molecular and biochemical perspective, our understanding of the etiology of this disease is limited by the broad spectrum of disease presentations, the lack of a thorough understanding of the factors contributing to disease susceptibility, and ethical concerns related to repeat sampling of the liver. To better understand the factors associated with disease progression, we investigated by next-generation RNA sequencing the altered expression of microRNAs (miRNAs) in liver biopsies of class III obese subjects (body mass index ≥40 kg/m(2)) biopsied at the time of elective bariatric surgery.
METHODS - Clinical characteristics and unbiased RNA expression profiles for 233 miRs, 313 transfer RNAs (tRNAs), and 392 miscellaneous small RNAs (snoRNAs, snRNAs, rRNAs) were compared among 36 liver biopsy specimens stratified by disease severity.
RESULTS - The abundances of 3 miRNAs that were found to be differentially regulated (miR-301a-3p and miR-34a-5p increased and miR-375 decreased) with disease progression were validated by RT-PCR. No tRNAs or miscellaneous RNAs were found to be associated with disease severity. Similar patterns of increased miR-301a and decreased miR-375 expression were observed in 134 hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) samples deposited in The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA).
CONCLUSIONS - Our analytical results suggest that NAFLD severity is associated with a specific pattern of altered hepatic microRNA expression that may drive the hallmark of this disorder: altered lipid and carbohydrate metabolism. The three identified miRNAs can potentially be used as biomarkers to access the severity of NAFLD. The persistence of this miRNA expression pattern in an external validation cohort of HCC samples suggests that specific microRNA expression patterns may permit and/or sustain NAFLD development to HCC.
UNLABELLED - Chronic hepatitis B (CHB), chronic hepatitis C (CHC), and associated hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) are characterized by cholesterol imbalance and dyslipidemia; however, the key regulatory drivers of these phenotypes are incompletely understood. Using gene expression microarrays and high-throughput sequencing of small RNAs, we performed integrative analysis of microRNA (miRNA) and gene expression in nonmalignant and matched cancer tissue samples from human subjects with CHB or CHC and HCC. We also carried out follow-up functional studies of specific miRNAs in a cell-based system. These studies led to four major findings. First, pathways affecting cholesterol homeostasis were among the most significantly overrepresented among genes dysregulated in chronic viral hepatitis and especially in tumor tissue. Second, for each disease state, specific miRNA signatures that included miRNAs not previously associated with chronic viral hepatitis, such as miR-1307 in CHC, were identified. Notably, a few miRNAs, including miR-27 and miR-224, were components of the miRNA signatures of all four disease states: CHB, CHC, CHB-associated HCC, and CHC-associated HCC. Third, using a statistical simulation method (miRHub) applied to the gene expression data, we identified candidate master miRNA regulators of pathways controlling cholesterol homeostasis in chronic viral hepatitis and HCC, including miR-21, miR-27, and miR-33. Last, we validated in human hepatoma cells that both miR-21 and miR-27 significantly repress cholesterol synthesis and that miR-27 does so in part through regulation of the gene that codes for the rate-limiting enzyme 3-hydroxy-3-methyl-glutaryl-coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase (HMGCR).
IMPORTANCE - Hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) are phylogenetically unrelated hepatotropic viruses that persistently infect hundreds of millions of people world-wide, often leading to chronic liver disease and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Chronic hepatitis B (CHB), chronic hepatitis C (CHC), and associated HCC often lead to cholesterol imbalance and dyslipidemia. However, the regulatory mechanisms underlying the dysregulation of lipid pathways in these disease states are incompletely understood. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) have emerged as critical modulators of lipid homeostasis. Here we use a blend of genomic, molecular, and biochemical strategies to identify key miRNAs that drive the lipid phenotypes of chronic viral hepatitis and HCC. These findings provide a panoramic view of the miRNA landscape in chronic viral hepatitis, which could contribute to the development of novel and more-effective miRNA-based therapeutic strategies.
Copyright © 2015 Selitsky et al.
Various immunohistochemical panels are used as aids to distinguish between primary hepatocellular malignancies and metastatic tumors and between benign lesions and carcinomas. We compared the immunohistochemical spectrum of hepatocellular lesions in mice with that of human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Specifically, we compared the staining parameters of 128 murine foci of cellular alteration (FCA) and tumors (adenoma and HCC) from archival tissue blocks of 3 transgenic mouse models (LFABP-cyclin D1, Alb1-TGFβ1, and LFABP-cyclin D1 × Alb1-TGFβ1) with those of archival human HCC (n = 5). Antibodies were chosen according to their published performance and characterization in human hepatocellular tumor diagnosis and included: arginase 1 (Arg1), β-catenin, glutamine synthetase (GS), glypican 3, hepatocyte paraffin 1 (HepPar1), and cytokeratin 19 (CK19). GS was the single best immunostain for identifying hepatocellular tumors in mice, with 100% positive staining. Data showed a trend toward loss of normal function (staining) with Arg1, with a higher percentage of positive staining in FCA than in adenomas and HCC. All FCA lacked murine β-catenin nuclear translocation, which was present in 2 of the 7 adenomas and 22 of the 96 HCC tested. HepPar1 staining was lower than anticipated, except in trabecular HCC (16 of 22 samples were positive). Glyp3 stained very lightly, and only scattered CK19-positive cells were noted (4 of 44 cases of mouse trabecular HCC). Thus, GS appears to be the most useful marker for identifying neoplasia in the transgenic mouse models we tested and should be included in immunohistochemistry assessing hepatocellular neoplasia development.
Chronic inflammation plays a pivotal role in the pathogenesis of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (ICC), the two most common types of liver cancer. A number of prior experimental studies have suggested that nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), including aspirin and ibuprofen, may potentially protect against liver cancer. However, no observational study has examined the association between aspirin duration and dose or other over-the-counter non-aspirin NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen, and liver cancer incidence. Furthermore, the association between NSAID use and risk of ICC is unclear. As part of the Liver Cancer Pooling Project, we harmonized data on 1,084,133 individuals (HCC = 679, ICC = 225) from 10 U.S.-based prospective cohort studies. Cox proportional hazards regression models were used to evaluate multivariable-adjusted HRs and 95% confidence intervals (CI). Current aspirin use, versus nonuse, was inversely associated with HCC (HR, 0.68; 95% CI, 0.57-0.81), which persisted when restricted to individuals not using non-aspirin NSAIDs and in a 5- and 10-year lag analysis. The association between aspirin use and HCC risk was stronger for users who reported daily use, longer duration use, and lower dosage. Ibuprofen use was not associated with HCC risk. Aspirin use was associated with a reduced ICC risk in men (HR, 0.64; 95% CI, 0.42-0.98) but not women (HR, 1.34; 95% CI, 0.89-2.01; P(interaction) = 0.01). The observed inverse association between aspirin use and liver cancer in our study, together with previous data, suggests the merit of future intervention studies of aspirin and other agents that affect chronic inflammatory pathways for HCC and possibly ICC.
©2015 American Association for Cancer Research.
BACKGROUND - Coffee consumption has been reported to be inversely associated with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), the most common type of liver cancer. Caffeine has chemopreventive properties, but whether caffeine is responsible for the coffee-HCC association is not well studied. In addition, few studies have examined the relationship by sex, and no studies have examined whether there is an association between coffee and intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (ICC), the second most common type of liver cancer.
METHODS - In the Liver Cancer Pooling Project, a consortium of U.S.-based cohort studies, data from 1,212,893 individuals (HCC, n = 860; ICC, n = 260) in nine cohorts were pooled. Multivariable-adjusted hazard ratios (HR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were estimated using proportional hazards regression.
RESULTS - Higher coffee consumption was associated with lower risk of HCC (HR>3 cups/day vs. non-drinker, 0.73; 95% CI, 0.53-0.99; Ptrend cups/day = <0.0001). More notable reduced risk was seen among women than men (Pinteraction = 0.07). Women who consumed more than three cups of coffee per day were at a 54% lower risk of HCC (HR, 0.46; 95% CI, 0.26-0.81), whereas men had more modest reduced risk of HCC (HR, 0.93; 95% CI, 0.63-1.37). The associations were stronger for caffeinated coffee (HR>3 cups/day vs. non-drinker, 0.71; 95% CI, 0.50-1.01) than decaffeinated coffee (HR, 0.92; 95% CI, 0.55-1.54). There was no association between coffee consumption and ICC.
CONCLUSIONS - These findings suggest that, in a U.S. population, coffee consumption is associated with reduced risk of HCC.
IMPACT - Further research into specific coffee compounds and mechanisms that may account for these associations is needed.
©2015 American Association for Cancer Research.