Essigmann Lab publishes PNAS paper on early detection of liver cancer
Several decades elapse between liver cancer initiation and the appearance of tumors, and there are rarely overt clues that presage the appearance of disease. There is an acute need for biomarkers of incipient carcinogenesis when the disease is clinically addressable. This work used high-fidelity DNA sequencing and a mouse model to reveal high-resolution mutational spectra of the liver carcinogen aflatoxin B1 in histopathologically normal liver as early as 10 wk after exposure. The spectrum, which is mirrored in human liver tumors, persisted through carcinoma development more than a year later. Identification of tumor mutational spectra in a manipulable animal model affords opportunities for the efficient testing of strategies relevant to early detection, prevention, and management of human cancer.