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Hepatocytes Make the Liver Most Susceptible to Cancer

Previous studies have already shown that among all the organs in the body that are susceptible to cancer when it spreads, liver is the one. However, the researchers didn’t know the possible reason. A team of researchers at the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania have come up with an answer to the question. According to them, the hepatocytes (chief functional cells of liver) being at the middle of a chain reaction that makes it susceptible to cancer cells. During any inflammation, the hepatocytes activate a protein, STAT 3, which in turn increases the production of other proteins called SAA. The SAA proteins are responsible for making the “soil” for the cancer cells to “seed”, thereby giving rise to the “seed-and-soil” hypothesis. The scientists had conducted the study on mouse models suffering from the most common type of pancreatic cancer. They also observed that genetically deleting STAT 3 reduced the susceptibility of the liver towards cancer. The researchers are looking into therapies that would target hepatocytes to treat lung cancer.

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