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Predicting liver cancer spread

JCI Journals

Patients with cancer usually do not die as a result of their originally diagnosed tumor. However, many do so as a result of metastatic disease -- tumors that arise at distant sites after spreading from the original tumor. Identifying biomarkers of tumor metastasis would therefore be of immense clinical benefit. In this context, a team of researchers -- led by Peng Loh, at the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda; and Ronnie Poon, at the The University of Hong Kong, China -- has now identified a potential biomarker for predicting future metastasis in patients with the most common form of liver cancer (hepatocellular carcinoma [HCC]). Specifically, the team found that quantification of the mRNA template for a truncated version of the protein carboxypeptidase E (CPE) in HCC patient samples predicted intrahepatic metastasis with high sensitivity and specificity. They therefore suggest that this truncated protein could be a powerful biomarker for predicting future metastasis in patients with HCC and thereby be of use to clinicians, helping guide therapeutic decisions.


TITLE: An N-terminal truncated carboxypeptidase E splice isoform induces tumor growth and is a biomarker for predicting future metastasis in human cancers

Y. Peng Loh
National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA.
Phone: 301.496.3239; Fax: 301.496.9938; E-mail:

Ronnie T. Poon
The University of Hong Kong, Queen Mary Hospital, Hong Kong, China.
Phone: 852.2855.3641; Fax: 852.2817.5475, E-mail:

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