Apr 21, 2019 | Updated: 07:00 AM EDT

Liver Cancer Update: New TGF-Beta Function Unveiled

Mar 29, 2017 07:14 PM EDT

A Scientist looks at cells through a fluorescent microscope at the laboratories at Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute on December 9, 2014 in Cambridge, England.
(Photo : Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

A new research shows the function of TGF-Beta cytokine in modulating both the migratory capacity of the liver cancer and its capacity as a tumor initiator cell. The research provides a better understanding and analysis regarding the role of TGF-Beta cytokine in cancer.

The research was headed by Dr. Isabel Fabregat, head of the collaborative European action among several groups of researchers called IT-Liver. According to Eurekalert, TGF-Beta plays two roles in liver cancer; it acts as a tumor suppressor in the beginning but it becomes as a tumor enhancer in latter stages. TGF-Beta induces a process knows epithelial-mesenchymal transition that favors the migration of cancer cells.

Furthermore, the research also suggests that process TGF-beta could also modulate the liver cancer cells to behave as the tumor initiator, as stated by Dr. Isabel Fabregat. The cells with the greatest capacity as tumor initiators are not those of mesenchymal type rather those that express epithelial-mesenchyme intermediate phenotype.

Epithelial-like cells can act as a tumor-initiating cell with no migration ability while mesenchymal cells have a migratory capacity. As reported by Medical News Today, liver cancer is also known as hepatic cancer wherein malignant tumor is on or in the liver. It is classified into two known as primary hepatic cancer and secondary hepatic cancer. Primary cancer primarily starts with the liver before migrating to other organs of the body. Secondary cancer, on the other hand, is caused by colon cancer, lung cancer, renal cancer, ovarian cancer and prostate cancer.

The most common type of liver cancer is hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) also called hepatoma. HCC affects males more than females, in the UK, approximately 1,500 people die from the disease each year. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that cancer of the liver affects around 30 cases per 100,000 people worldwide. The prevalence rate is higher in parts of Africa and Eastern Asia.

Usually, the symptoms of liver cancer include jaundice, abdominal pain, unexplained weight loss, hepatomegaly, fatigue, and fever. The lethal disease is also caused by anabolic steroids, aflatoxins, cirrhosis, diabetes, L-carnitine deficiency, smoking, and obesity.

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