Singapore clinical group sees gene sequencing key in liver cancer treatment study

A Singapore-led clinical group has published a study of a novel approach to investigating how genes affect options to treat liver cancer, highlighting the city-state's growing role in oncology research.

The study used the latest technologies in gene sequencing to highlight genetic differences between individuals in intra-tumoral heterogeneity and to examine the low efficacy of current targeted drugs in many cancers.

The study was conducted under the Asia-Pacific Hepatocellular Carcinoma (AHCC) trial group that includes Singapore's National Cancer Centre Singapore (NCCS), Singapore Clinical Research Institute (SCRI) and more than 35 major medical centers in the Asia-Pacific across 17 countries.

The group is currently running its sixth multi-center clinical trial within the collaborative partnership platform.

The focus on new approaches for targeted therapies for liver cancer and recommendations by a panel of world class experts in liver cancer on treatment using Yttrium 90 Selective Internal Radiation Therapy (SIRT) were considered the major takeaways, according to a May 29 press release.

About one million new cases worldwide occur annually with more than 70% of those happening in Asia, a figure which highlights the regional emphasis.

Pierce Chow, a professor and protocol Chair at AHCC and senior consultant surgeon at NCCS, was the principal investigator of the study.

"Most drug development programs only consider the presence/absence of a driver alteration without determining if these are important genetic drivers of the cancer or just passengers in the mutation," Chow said in the press release.