Test May Predict Liver Cancer Prognosis

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FRIDAY, Oct. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Measuring levels of cells that originate in bone marrow could help doctors predict outcomes for liver cancer patients, researchers say.

Patients with inoperable heptocellular carcinoma (HCC) had higher levels of "endothelial progenitor cells" (EPCs) -- precursors to the endothelial cells that line blood vessels -- compared to patients with liver tumors that could be treated surgically.

The study, by a team from the University of Hong Kong, included 80 patients with HCC, 16 patients with cirrhosis, and 14 healthy patients. The findings were published in the October issue of Hepatology.

The researchers say their study provides additional evidence that EPCs may play a role in liver tumor angiogenesis (the formation of new blood vessels).

Further research into the link between EPCs and liver cancer needs to be conducted, the study authors added. This line of investigation may lead to new treatments for HCC, an aggressive form of cancer that's usually diagnosed at an advanced stage.

More information

The American Cancer Society has more about liver cancer.

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