A type of mutation that ‘switches on’ inflammatory signalling pathways in human liver tumours is described in a paper in this week’s Nature. Similar mutations may occur in other inflammatory epithelial cancers.
Jessica Zucman-Rossi and colleagues studied human inflammatory hepatocellular adenomas (IHCAs), benign liver tumours with a strong inflammatory signature. ‘Gain-of-function’ mutations in the gp130 signalling component of the interleukin-6 receptor — a pro-inflammatory signalling pathway — were found in around 60% of IHCAs.
The gp130 alterations were accompanied by mutations that activate beta-catenin, a molecule already implicated in the development of liver cancer. So it’s thought that the two mutations cooperate to promote tumour formation.
Article DOI: 10.1038/nature07475