Message from a professor
We have been conducting research on liver diseases, especially viral hepatitis, cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), carrying forward the work of emeritus professor Toshio Shikata, and have also worked clinically performing pathological diagnosis at Nihon University Itabashi Hospital. Our recent research has focused mainly on molecular analysis of the hepatitis C virus (HCV) in chimpanzee experiments and human samples, immuno-pathological studies of acute rejection in liver transplantation, investigating Bangladesh hepatitis, studying hepatocellular adenoma (HCA), molecular research in HCC and other malignancies. The latest researches by Professor Masahiko Sugitani, Associate Professor Mariiko Esumi and colleagues are detailed below.
HCA Research in Japan:
Most liver tumors in Japan are HCC, while HCA is extremely rare. In Europe and North America, the incidence of HCA is about 3-4% per 100,000 population and characteristics are reportedly that 80% occur in young women, while HCA is rare in children, men and the elderly. However, HCA characteristics in Japan have not as yet been reported. The WHO classification was revised in 2010, and subtype classification based on immunohistochemistry (IHC) was proposed. The differential diagnosis, i.e. distinguishing between HCC and HCA is difficult when only the histology of H&E sections is considered, but the IHC classification is useful for HCA diagnosis. In addition, most liver adenomas are benign, though malignant transformation has been noted in the one subtype. For these reasons, the clinical importance of HCA is increasing. A few investigations along with the WHO classification have been reported in some regions of Japan. However, HCA prevalence in Japan remains unclear. Therefore, we planed two projects. One involves collection of HCA candidate cases, in and around Tokyo, with detailed clinical histories, in terms of relevant factors. This year, we will report our analysis of 37 Japanese HCA cases at the International Liver Cancer Association 9th Annual Conference in Paris. The other project is a questionnaire survey in large hospitals (approximately 400) throughout all regions of Japan and IHC using tissue sections of candidate cases in the participating hospitals. We will endeavor to clarify the incidence and characteristics of HCA in Japan.
Molecular approach for analysis of mechanisms to infectious diseases and cancer:
Our research is based on the molecular approach to disease mechanisms. We perform the translational research by disease omics such as genomics, transcriptomics and proteomics of infectious diseases and cancer to find disease biomarkers. These molecules are useful not only as novel diagnostic, prognostic and therapeutic markers but also for elucidation of disease mechanisms. Recently, to perform more detailed and accurate omics, we laser-microdissect thin-section samples, called as ‘microgenomics’ and ‘microproteomics’. Major projects are as follows: 1) Anti-viral and pro-viral host factors in HCV infection by transcriptomics of human liver mRNA. 2) Microenvironmental factors of carcinogenesis and recurrence of human hepatocellular carcinoma by proteomics. 3) Clonal evolution of cancer in multiple cancer and precancerous regions by genomics.