Certain immune cells can indicate liver health in liver cancer patients.
Immunotherapy—developing treatments by boosting natural immune system responses—holds much potential in the fight against serious diseases. Now, A*STAR researchers have determined how one group of immune cells called tumor-infiltrating B cells (TiBs) can fight liver cancer. Their results could inform future treatments.
Tumor-infiltrating cells, including TiBs and T cells, are white blood cells that have left the bloodstream to enter cancerous tissue. Depending on their type and ‘conditioning’ they may either promote or control tumor growth. Previous studies have demonstrated a positive correlation between the density of T cells found inside a tumor and a patient’s chances of survival. As such, tumor-infiltrating cells are of great interest to scientists developing immunotherapies for cancer.
“The presence of TiBs in tumors has always been controversial, with studies producing conflicting results on whether they play a positive or negative role during cancer,” says Alessandra Nardin of the A*STAR Singapore Immunology Network, who worked on the project with an international team of scientists. “We wanted to determine the role of TiBs in liver cancer progression regardless of patients’ ethnicities or individual disease triggers.”
The team used tissue samples from 112 Asian and European patients with liver cancer. In Asia, there is a relatively high volume of cases of the disease, mainly due to the prevalence of Hepatitis B infection in the region. In Europe, the causes of liver cancer include alcohol consumption and Hepatitis C infection.
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