Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the sixth most common cancer worldwide and the third most common cause of cancer-related death. The majority of patients present with locally advanced or metastatic disease. For early stage patients undergoing potentially curative surgical therapy, recurrence rates are as high as 70 percent after resection and 15-20 percent after transplantation, resulting in significant cancer-related mortality. The numerous staging and classification systems for HCC are limited in their ability to accurate prognosticate patients and inform best first line therapy. Dr. Vatche Agopian's translational program in HCC aims to identify novel biomarkers that will best inform therapy in patients presenting with HCC. His lab is currently working to optimize a novel technique to detect, isolate, and molecularly characterize HCC circulating tumor cells (CTCs) to serve as a novel biomarker that may guide personalized treatment decisions.
Agopian VG, Harlander-Locke M, Zarrinpar A, Kaldas FM, Farmer DG, Yersiz H, Finn RS, Tong M, Hiatt JR, Busuttil RW. A Novel Prognostic Nomogram Accurately Predicts Hepatocellular Carcinoma Recurrence after Liver Transplantation: Analysis of 865 Consecutive Liver Transplant Recipients. J Am Coll Surg. 2014 Dec 27. pii: S1072-7515(14)01922-X. doi: 10.1016/j.jamcollsurg.2014.12.025. [Epub ahead of print]
Buzzanco A, Gomez A, Rodriguez E, French BA, Tillman BA, Chang S, Ganapathy E, Junrungsee S, Zarrinpar A, Agopian VG, Naini BV, French SW Jr, French SW Sr. Digital quantitation of HCC-associated stem cell markers and protein quality control factors using tissue arrays of human liver sections. Exp Mol Pathol. 2014 Dec;97(3):399-410. doi: 10.1016/j.yexmp.2014.09.002. Epub 2014 Sep 8.
Agopian VG, Petrowsky H, Kaldas FM, Zarrinpar A, Farmer DG, Yersiz H, Holt C, Harlander-Locke M, Hong JC, Rana AR, Venick R, McDiarmid SV, Goldstein LI, Durazo F, Saab S, Han S, Xia V, Hiatt JR, Busuttil RW. The evolution of liver transplantation during 3 decades: analysis of 5347 consecutive liver transplants at a single center. Ann Surg. 2013 Sep;258(3):409-21. doi: 10.1097/SLA.0b013e3182a15db4.
Agopian VG, Kaldas FM, Hong JC, Whittaker M, Holt C, Rana A, Zarrinpar A, Petrowsky H, Farmer D, Yersiz H, Xia V, Hiatt JR, Busuttil RW. Liver transplantation for nonalcoholic steatohepatitis: the new epidemic. Ann Surg. 2012 Oct;256(4):624-33. doi: 10.1097/SLA.0b013e31826b4b7e.