Studies in the Hepatocellular Carcinoma Space Leave Unanswered Questions

Amaia Lujambio Goizueta, PhD, discusses the unanswered questions currently circulating the hepatocellular carcinoma field.

Amaia Lujambio Goizueta, PhD, an assistant professor of Oncological Sciences at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, discusses the unanswered questions currently circulating the hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) field.

While many studies have been performed in the HCC space, unmet needs still exist and oncologists are left with questions regarding how to treat this disease. Some of these frequently asked questions pertaining to patients with liver cancer include understanding which therapy is best to use for each patient, and how to address heterogeneity which differs among individuals.

Because patients who undergo procedures are at an added risk due to their health, more studies focusing on the genetic makeup of tumors would help to guide researchers in understanding the best ways to treat their patients.


0:08 | We get new questions every time we get new answers, so it's a never-ending process. But 1 of the biggest questions is which therapy is appropriate for each patient? Even if there are challenges in trying to address that question, there are also advances. There was an interesting study this year where they found out that those patients that have a liver associated with non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, those patients in general respond worse to monotherapy. That was a great discovery this year, but then that begs the question of, what therapy should we use with those patients. Combining research with mouse models and with knowledge from patient samples again will be critical to address this question.

1:28 | Another interesting question that we are discussing right now is that heterogeneity is different among patients, which is critical, but also a liver tumor within a single patient, they can also be very diverse. Not all the tumor cells within a tumor are identical. That means that you may have some cells that respond to therapy, but others that don't, and the tumor will develop resistance to the therapy. That's going to be another important challenge and a question to address in the next few years. Luckily, now we have technologies based on single-cell analysis of either DNA or mRNA, or proteins that are going to enable us to study this a little bit more.