May 29, 2012, Shenzhen, China The Asian Cancer Research Group (ACRG)an independent, not-for-profit company established by Eli Lilly and Company, Merck (known as MSD outside the United States and Canada) and Pfizer Inc.in collaboration with BGIthe world's largest genomics organizationtoday announced the publication of results from a whole genome-wide study of recurrent hepatitis B virus (HBV) integration in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in Nature Genetics. Results from this first-of-its-kind study provide important insights that may be used to improve diagnosis and treatment of HCC, the most common form of liver cancer worldwide.
"This study provided new insight into mechanisms of HBV integration, which promote liver cancer and affect clinical outcomes," said Dr. Ken Sung, lead author of the publication, National University of Singapore (NUS) and Honorary Associate Professor of Hong Kong University (HKU). "We expect further investigation may lead to improved diagnosis and treatment of HCC."
HBV integration is thought to be one of the major causes of HCC and research has shown that the DNA of HBV could integrate into a host genome in such a manner as to induce chromosomal instability (a defining characteristic of most human cancers) or alter expression and function of endogenous genes. Previous studies of HBV integration into the HCC genome have been limited by technological hurdles and relatively small sample sizes.
In this study, ACRG, BGI and other collaborators carried out whole-genome sequencing in a large sample cohort of Chinese patients with HCC to characterize genome integration patterns and determine the prevalence of integrated HBV. Through the sequencing and analysis, researchers found that HBV integration was a common event in liver tumors and was observed more frequently in tumors (86.4 percent) than in adjacent normal liver tissues (30.7 percent). In addition to the previously reported TERT and MLL4 genes, resear
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