G-C 15 Childhood liver oncology

The Childhood Liver Oncology group (c-LOG) is a research group that forms part of the Gastroenterology department of the Hospital Germans Trias i Pujol (HUGTiP), it is also part of the Biomedical Research Networking Centre (CIBER) for Liver and Digestive diseases of the Spanish Health Research Institute (Instituto Carlos III). The cLOG counts is also supported by the Spanish Society of Paediatric Haematology and Oncology (SEHOP) and the Childhood Liver Tumours Strategy Group (SIOPEL), the European group for the Study of Paediatric Liver Tumours.

The group was created in 2010 with the aim of increasing translational research into paediatric liver tumours, a rare disease with an incidence of 1-1.5 children diagnosed per million children per year. To accomplish this aim, we contributed to the creation of a multidisciplinary Spanish group for the Study of Paediatric Liver tumours (GEETHI) that includes paediatric oncologists, surgeons, pathologists and basic researchers from the main Spanish paediatric hospitals (H. Reina Sofia of Córdoba, H. La Paz and Gregorio Marañón of Madrid; H. Vall d'Hebron of Barcelona and IGTP).

Hepatoblastoma (HB) and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) are the predominant malignant liver cancers in early and late childhood, respectively. Despite great advances during the last decades, which have improved disease outcome for patients with HB using chemotherapy and surgical approaches, there are very limited treatment options for 10-20% of patients suffering from immature and metastatic tumours. Importantly, cancer survivors can suffer serious side effects. In contrast to HB, HCC has a worse prognosis and the unique realistic chance of cure for HCC is an early diagnosis.

Since molecular studies of childhood liver cancer have been hampered by the rarity of the disease. One of the main tasks of the cLOG was to establish a collection of biospecimens from these patients with which to support our research. With this objective, we created the Childhood Liver Cancer Network (CLCN) collection in 2010 at national level and currently, it is extending to other European countries.

The cLOG research lines are focussed on delving into molecular knowledge of the underlying mechanisms responsible of hepatocarcinogenesis and tumour progression with the latest "omic" technologies in order to identify diagnostic/prognostic biomarkers and key molecular pathways for improving the clinical management and treatment of children suffering of liver cancer.

Currently, the cLOG group in collaboration with GEETHI is organizing the next SIOPEL Spring meeting in Barcelona (21st - 23rd of April, 2016)

This meeting will offer clinical and basic researchers the opportunity to meet and share their insights into clinical management and translational research on paediatric liver malignancies in the context of the development of the first Paediatric Hepatic International Tumour Trial and the European ChilTERN project. The multidisciplinary program will also include a pre-Symposium "Advances in molecular profiling to improve clinical management of the patient with liver cancer" focusing on the cutting edge advances in clinical and basic research in the field of adult and childhood liver cancers, for which we are lucky to be able to count on the participation of top level internationally recognized experts.

Research lines

  • Establishment of the Childhood Liver Cancer Network (CLCN) collection. This is a centralized and prospective collection of biological samples from pediatric patients with liver cancer that was created in 2010 in the IGTP thanks to the development of a multidisciplinary network with the main pediatric hospitals of Spain. Currently, the CLCN collection includes more than 100 high quality biospecimens (plasma, DNA and tissue) obtained from about 60-70% of the patients diagnosed in Spain. This biorepository is sponsored by the Germans Trias i Pujol Health Research Institute (IGTP) and the ChilTERN project, which recently received a European H2020 grant, and will be integrated into the next Paediatric Hepatic International Tumour Trial (PHITT).  
  • ChilTERN project. This project, which recently received a European H2020 grant, will allow us to extend the CLCN collection to other European countries thanks to their integration into the next Paediatric Hepatic International Tumour Trial (PHITT). This collection will allow us to (i) identify highly validated panels of diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers in both HB and HCC and (ii) determine if paediatric HCC is a biologically different entity to adult HCC.
  • Proteomic study of Hepatoblastoma: Identification of a 3-protein signature to improve clinical stratification of childhood liver cancer and key deregulated pathways. This study has been done in collaboration with Dr. F Elortza of the Proteomic platform of the CICBioGUNE (Bilbao, Spain).
  • Molecular characterization of childhood liver cancer by integrating RNA-sequencing, genomic and transcriptomic data. This project is conducted in collaboration with Dr. JM Llovet (Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York), Dr. Francesc Solé of the the Josep Carreras Research Institute (Can Ruti Campus, Badalona) and the Microarray Analysis Service (IMIM, Barcelona).
  • Plasma proteomic profiling of adult patients with different degree of liver damage: identification of biomarkers of hepatocellular carcinoma. This multicentre study in which 6 different Spanish hospitals participated (HUGTiP, Badalona; H. Josep Trueta, Girona; H. del Mar, Barcelona; Parc Taulí, Sabadell; H. Puerta de Hierro, Madrid; H. Universitario Central de Asturias) allowed the establishment of a biological samples collection (plasma and tissue samples) from 560 adult patients with different degree of liver damage. The project is also conducted in collaboration with Dr. JM Estanyol and O. Bachs of the Proteomic platform and the Cellular Biology department of the Barcelona University respectively.

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Carolina Armengol

(+34) 93 497 86 88