Vienna: Researchers from the Medical University of Vienna in Austria have discovered a new factor in the development and progression of the most common type of liver cancer, hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), the university has said.
The team from the Institute of Cancer Research found the AXL receptor tyrosine kinase both supported cancer-advancing processes and inhibited anti-cancer mechanisms, Xinhua reported citing the university statement issued Thursday.
Team leader Wolfgang Mikulits said he was surprised the function of the AXL receptor now hardly had to be studied as the receptor was found to be activated in more than 50 percent of HCC patients.
The team was able to demonstrate that the presence and activation of the receptor led to a switch of signalling pathways that allowed for the migration and metastasis of liver cancer cells, as well as disabled the anti-cancer activity of the protein TGF beta.
An analysis of tumour samples from patients confirmed the experimental data.