Once we know the question to be answered, we can conduct the studies needed to answer it
Liver cancer normally affects patients who already have chronic liver disease. Among this risk population, the development of liver cancer is the leading cause of death. This group studies the epidemiological, molecular, diagnostic and therapeutic aspects of this disease.
In our region, liver cancer represents 10 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants per year whereas in global terms, this type of tumour is the second leading cause of death by cancer. Depending on the approach area (risk factors, diagnosis, treatment), it is necessary to involve a combination of the diverse specialists who form part of the group (hepatologists, surgeons, radiologists, pathologists, oncologists and nurses) and implement the technologies that fall within their expertise.
The group is developing tools to predict which patients may develop cancer and to improve early detection plans, as well as investigating the mechanisms of action of new treatments and their efficiency in reducing the risk of recurrence after cancer treatment and in increasing the patient’s survival rate at advanced stages. All of the above is combined with education designed to empower patients.
The group leads international studies that involve centres from all over the world. This makes it possible to generate evidence, within the contexts of research and real life alike.
The group has established non-invasive diagnostic criteria, but it is necessary to improve their sensitivity to tumours of less than 2 cm in size. Imaging tools must be developed to establish the molecular profile of the tumours and their prognosis, without the need for biopsies. And educational tools are needed to ensure that patients are fully integrated into the entire process.
The group has led national and international studies to evaluate new treatment options and define the best candidates. It is necessary to continue investigating new agents that can reduce the risk of postoperative recurrence and new alternatives for increasing patient survival at advanced stages, by conducting clinical trials.