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Last Updated: 02/21/20

Liver SPOREs

In 2020, an estimated 54,790 adults in the U.S. will be diagnosed with liver and biliary tract cancers and a total 34,250 deaths will result from these cancers. This includes hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), which is the most common form of liver cancer, and a form of biliary cancer called cholangiocarcinoma. The diagnosis rate for this family of cancers is increasing. For example, between 2006 and 2015 the number of people diagnosed with liver cancer increased by approximately 3% annually. Hepatobiliary cancer is even more common in other parts of the world such as sub-Saharan Africa and southeast Asia. While targeted therapy using sorafenib is commonly used as liver cancer therapy, this drug only extends time to progression by a few months and there is a dire need for more effective therapies. The first hepatobiliary SPORE was awarded in 2018 to the Mayo Clinic (and collaborators at other institutions) to carry out four projects focusing on novel approaches to hepatobiliary cancer diagnosis and therapy. A second SPORE in hepatocellular cancer was awarded in 2019 to the University of Texas/MD Anderson Cancer Center. This SPORE includes 3 projects that will evaluate checkpoint therapy in neoadjuvant and adjuvant HCC settings, determine the prognostic significance of phosphorylated STAT3 as a biomarker for postoperative recurrence, and perform extensive screening for liver fibrosis in obese and diabetic Hispanics in South Texas.