HCC Laboratory

The Hepatocellular Carcinoma(HCC) Laboratory has been developed to:

  • Identify gene expression profiles and genetic alterations in hepatocellular carcinoma in HCV-cirrhotic patients, and elucidate their diagnostic and prognostic implications

  • Identify the role of signal transduction pathways in the pathogenesis of HCC, and assess the effect of molecular targeted therapies  

  • Identify gene expression profiles and genetic alterations in HCC in HCV-cirrhotic patients, and elucidate their diagnostic and prognostic implications

This international and collaborative group has combined the resources of its co-investigators and personnel to develop a tissue bank containing 280 samples and 12 translational research projects.

Ongoing projects are designed to meet many of the objectives of the NIH-NIDDK Action Plan for Liver Cancer. Recent publications and ongoing initiatives towards these objectives include:

  • Integrative genomic analysis and molecular classification of HCC

    • Study of the gene expression profiles defining different stages of hepatocarcinogenesis (oligonucleotide microarray analysis). (Wurmbach, Hepatology , 2007).

    • Analysis of structural changes in HCC and molecular classification of HCC. Collaboration with Dana-Farber MIT-Broad Institute. (Chiang, Cancer Research, 2008).

    • Gene signatures of the microenvironment in HCC. Collaboration with MIT-Broad Institute. (Hoshida, New Engl J Med, 2008).

    • MiRNA classification of HCC.

  • Molecular markers of early diagnosis

    • Identification of biomarkers of early tumors or as predictors of an invasive biological behavior. (Llovet, Gastroenterology2006).

    • Identification of gene signatures for microscopic vascular invasion in HCC. (Minguez, in preparation).

  • Signal transduction pathways and molecular targeted therapies in HCC

  • Role of Akt/mTOR pathway in HCC. Assessment of novel molecular targeted drugs

    • Exploration of the role of this signaling pathway in HCC and pre-clinical testing of novel drugs and combination of drugs (such as sorafenib and rapamycin) to explore the mechanisms of action and move into clinical trials.  (Villanueva Gastroenterology, 2008; Newell, Journal of Hepatology 2008).

    • Role of IGF pathway in HCC. Assessment of molecular targeted drugs (IDIBAPS). National Health Institute, Spain. Research grant I+D Program, (Grant number: SAF-2007-61898). 2007. (Tovar, J Hepatol, 2009).

  • Molecular pathogenesis of HCC

    • Complex experimental models in HCC, collaboration with Univ Minessota (Nature Biotechnology 2009).

    • Let-7 microRNA and cancer, collaboration with Harvard (Nature Genetics, 2009).