Finding Liver Cancer Early and Reversing Its Course

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Karen Teber

PHILADELPHIA (April 21, 2015) – Liver cancer is often lethal in humans because it is diagnosed in late stages, but new work in animal models has identified a potential diagnostic biomarker of the disease and a potential way to reverse the damage done. The study was presented April 21 at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting 2015 in Philadelphia.

Ying Fu, PhD, of Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center explains this new work:

“Hepatocellular carcinoma, the most common form of liver cancer, remains the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide due to a lack of biomarkers for early detection and rapid fatality shortly after diagnosis. 

“In this work, we demonstrate that a damaged lesion (γ-OH-Acr-dG) on a DNA base (guanine) is correlated with the development of hepatocellular carcinoma in two mouse models. It has the potential to serve as a biomarker for early detection of hepatocellular carcinoma.

“Furthermore, polyphenon E, a formulation of green tea extract containing antioxidant catechins (plant metabolites) showed the most potent effect to suppress the lesion. More importantly, 86 percent of the mice on the polyphenon E diet appeared to have complete protection from tumor development.”

This research is supported by a grans from the National Cancer Institute (RO1-CA-134892, P30CA051008) and an ONYX Pharmaceuticals Research Award.

About Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center
Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, part of Georgetown University Medical Center and MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, seeks to improve the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of cancer through innovative basic and clinical research, patient care, community education and outreach, and the training of cancer specialists of the future.  Georgetown Lombardi is one of only 41 comprehensive cancer centers in the nation, as designated by the National Cancer Institute (grant #P30 CA051008), and the only one in the Washington, DC area.  For more information, go to

About Georgetown University Medical Center
Georgetown University Medical Center (GUMC) is an internationally recognized academic medical center with a three-part mission of research, teaching and patient care (through MedStar Health). GUMC’s mission is carried out with a strong emphasis on public service and a dedication to the Catholic, Jesuit principle of cura personalis — or “care of the whole person.” The Medical Center includes the School of Medicine and the School of Nursing & Health Studies, both nationally ranked; Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, designated as a comprehensive cancer center by the National Cancer Institute; and the Biomedical Graduate Research Organization, which accounts for the majority of externally funded research at GUMC including a Clinical and Translational Science Award from the National Institutes of Health.