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GW researchers discover biomarker for advanced bile duct fibrosis and bile duct cancer
Date:5/29/2012

WASHINGTON (May 29, 2012) GW Researchers, Jeffrey M. Bethony, Ph.D., associate professor of Microbiology, Immunology, and Tropical Medicine, and Paul Brindley, Ph.D., professor of Microbiology, Immunology, and Tropical Medicine at GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences, along with colleagues from Khon Kaen University in Thailand have determined that plasma Interleukin-6 (IL-6) levels are an sensitive and specific biomarker for the detection of the advanced bile duct fibrosis and bile duct cancer that comes from chronic infection with the Asian Liver Fluke (Opisthorchis viverrini). The research, titled, "Elevated Plasma IL-6 Associates with Increased Risk of Advanced Fibrosis and Cholangiocarcinoma in Individuals Infected by Opisthorchis viverrini," was recently published in the journal, PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases.

This discovery is a critical advance for the Northeastern (Isaan) region of Thailand and other areas of Southeast Asia, where an estimated 10 million people are currently infected with Asian Liver Fluke, which is the leading cause of cancer in the region. This food-borne parasite encysts in the fins, skin, and musculature of fish and infection occurs when people ingest this raw or uncooked fish. While the infection can be cured by chemotherapy, environmental and cultural factors of the region strongly favors rapid reinfection, with bile duct cancer as a common outcome. Northeastern Thailand has the highest levels bile duct cancer in the world. The determination that plasma IL-6 levels are associated with bile duct fibrosis (a precursor state to bile duct cancer) and early bile duct cancer were done by examining participants in the Khon Kaen Cholangiocarcinoma Cohort, the largest cancer cohort of its type in the world, and an NIH sponsored project in collaboration with George Washington University and Khon Kaen University. In this study, researchers visited nearly 4,000 individuals resident in rural areas of
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Contact: Anne Banner
abanner@gwu.edu
202-994-2261
George Washington University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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