Researches have revealed that blocking the activity of a key immune receptor reduces the progression of liver cancer.
Carl Ware, Professor at the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute, and his research team said that their findings point to a new way to improve the treatment of liver cancer patients.
Ware said that combining drugs that are currently in clinical trials, which blocked the activity of the LTBR with drugs that targeted oncogene signals, might be a valuable new approach to improving the patient outcomes.
Ware added they have demonstrated how the receptor’s signals created an environment that accelerates oncogenic activity and tumor growth.
The research team introduced the liver cancer-causing AKT/B-catenin or AKT/Notch oncogenes to mice and then monitored liver cancer progression after administration of either a LTBR activator (agonist) or an inhibitor (antagonist).
The mice that received the antagonist experienced reduced tumor progression and enhanced survival.
The research team found that LTBR levels were elevated in human liver cancer cell lines, reflecting the need for enhanced receptor activity to maintain oncogene activity.
In the same way, higher levels of the receptor correlated with poor survival in patients with intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma, the second most common type of liver tumor.
The results are published in the online edition of Gut.