Liver Cancer Research Program

The Liver Cancer Research Program is a multidisciplinary group comprising more than two dozen investigators from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, including hepatologists, surgeons, oncologists, pathologists, radiologists, genetics and genomics experts, and basic scientists, who collaborate to explore novel models of disease, mechanisms of inflammation and signaling, fibrosis, and gene therapy.

Our Program is committed to advancing our understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying chronic liver disease and cancer in order to enhance our ability to detect, treat, and cure HCC. Under the leadership of Josep Llovet, MD, the Program has accomplished a number of scientific achievements, such as the following:

  • Discovering a new three-gene signature that establishes a molecular diagnosis of HCC
  • Establishing a new molecular classification of HCC based on gene signatures of tumors and adjacent tissue
  • Establishing the unique standard of care for the management of advanced HCC
  • Defining the outcomes of patients with HCC following percutaneous and surgical therapies
  • Characterizing the behavior of HCC in patients with HIV co-infection

Current Clinical Research

Hepatitis C is the most common etiology of the liver disease underlying HCC at Mount Sinai (as is typical throughout the Western world), present in just over 50 percent of our patients. Our New York City location means we have a varied population that includes people of Asian descent; we thus have a significant cohort with hepatitis B as well, representing 25 percent of our volume. This mixed population affords us the unique opportunity to compare outcomes between underlying etiologies at a single center.

Several studies are currently being conducted and led by our Program or in collaboration with other programs, such as the following:

  • Randomized controlled trials of molecularly targeted therapy in HCC
  • HCC research that shapes clinical practice
  • Identification of novel HCC oncogenes as potential targets for new therapeutic approaches
  • Clinical trials of novel therapies for viral hepatitis and the role of genetic polymorphisms
  • Clinical studies of novel diagnostic tools and treatments for HCC
  • State-of-the-art imaging and interventional radiological approaches
  • HCV prevalence and screening practices in primary care settings
  • Outreach and education through programs such as the Hepatitis Outreach Network (HONE™)