F141L Mutation in the Surface Antigen Be Trigger That Causes Liver Cancer
Researchers continue to search for the mutation or viral trigger that causes some people with hepatitis B to develop liver cancer. South Korean researchers reported in the January 2011 issue of the Journal of Virology that they may have found a mutation in the surface covering of the virus, called HBsAg, that may play a role in causing liver cancer.
They identified a mutation called F141L and looked for that in the surface antigen of 241 Korean patients with liver diseases at different stages.
They found F141L mutants were present in a significant number of liver cancer cases. The mutation was present in cancer cases more often than was cirrhosis—severe liver scarring—which is often considered a precursor to liver cancer.
“Our results suggest that (F141L) may contribute importantly to the [development] of liver cancer by inducing cell proliferation and transformation,” they wrote. They suggest that the F141L mutation could serve as a diagnostic test for liver cancer.
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