Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


PROLIFICA Report Summary

Project ID: 265994
Funded under: FP7-HEALTH
Country: United Kingdom

Periodic Report Summary 3 - PROLIFICA (Prevention of Liver Fibrosis and Cancer in Africa)

Project Context and Objectives:
Chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection affects 350 million people worldwide and 25-30% of these individuals will die as a result of their infection, mainly as a result of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) or decompensated cirrhosis. The overall aim of PROLIFICA is to identify factors which determine progression to hepatocellular carcinoma and to evaluate whether screening and treatment for HBV infection is feasible and effective at reducing the risk. PROLIFICA is based on two platforms; the West African Treatment Cohort for Hepatitis B (WATCH) and the Hepatocellular Carcinoma Case-Control Study (HC4). Effective treatment programmes for HBV infection have not been developed for resource poor settings, such as West Africa. As part of the WATCH study we have screened over 10,000 adults in Gambia and Senegal for HBV infection and have invited all who test positive to attend for clinical assessments. A trial of HBV treatment in a group of carefully selected high risk patients will be conducted to demonstrate that the incidence of HCC can be reduced in a West African population, specifically from Senegal, and Gambia. The treatment trial will also be used to evaluate the efficacy of screening by ultrasound for early tumours which can then be treated.

Project Results:
The project will use a large case control study on HCC to evaluate the importance of established risk factors such as liver fibrosis and hepatitis B (HBV) in West Africa and to explore other potential oncogenic determinants. The study has generated biological samples for proteomic, metabonomic and genomic analysis to identify biomarkers and aetiological agents for HCC. The PROLIFICA project, therefore, aims to establish novel aetiological factors for HCC identify and evaluate biomarkers for the development of a simple HCC diagnostic and demonstrate the efficacy of selective antiviral therapy to prevent HCC. This is undertaken over the five year lifetime of the project, initiated in February 2011. To date the project data and information has shown that HBV does have an effect of the incidence of HCC in the populations studied and is implicated in the high death rate from HCC in Gambia, Senegal and Nigeria. In addition, the biological patient samples that have been analysed for possible HCC biomarkers, have provided specific, robust biomarkers for the identification of HCC in patients. This has been investigated using both metabonomics and proteomic technologies. For the metabobomics, urinary biomarkers have also been identified for detecting cirrhosis, as well as liver cancer (HCC). These are very specific and it is hoped that they can be used to develop a cost effective urinary 'dipstick' that can detect HCC and cirrhosis in patients in resource poor settings, hence improving early detection and treatment.

Potential Impact:
The current outcomes of the project show promise for the early detection of cirrhosis and HCC in African populations. If the project biomarkers can be used to develop a simple 'dipstick' that can be used in villages to detect those with cirrhosis and early liver cancer, the cancer can be treated early and prevent early death from this disease. In parallel with this, PROLIFICA has established training and technology transfer initaitives to build expertise in liver cancer, its diagnosis and treatment amongst local healthcare personnel. Together, PROLIFICA should help build a network of liver cancer awareness and healthcare across Africa. This should help reduce the current high death rate from liver cancer, particularly amingst young males.


Tatjana Palalic, (Head of Pre Award Research Services, Faculty of)
Tel.: +44 207 594 3866
Fax: +44 207 594 3868
Record Number: 182635 / Last updated on: 2016-05-18
Information source: SESAM
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