#IDIBELLseminars: Animal models for human liver cancer: From pathogenesis to therapy

Diego F. Calvisi

Institute of Pathology, University of Regensburg, Germany



Ms Teams


Primary liver cancer (PLC) ranks among the most frequent and deadly tumor entities worldwide. PLC consists mainly of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and cholangiocarcinoma (CCA) in adults and hepatoblastoma (HB) in children. Due to the late diagnosis, the vast majority of cases of HCC and CCA cannot be curatively treated, and systemic treatments remain of limited efficacy. Thus, more efficacious therapies are urgently needed. For this purpose, a better understanding of the molecular events underlying PLC is imperative.
Using a comprehensive approach consisting of PLC-derived cell lines, ad hoc generated mouse models using hydrodynamic gene technology, and human tumor specimens, we have investigated various signaling pathways responsible for PLC onset and progression, both in terms of the molecular pathogenesis of the tumors and experimental therapeutics. The results obtained by our investigations indicate that PLC is a highly heterogeneous disease characterized by distinct molecular features in various tumor subsets. Thus, appropriate models recapitulating the uniqueness of each tumor subset should be generated and investigated for the development of more effective therapies against this aggressive disease.

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Diego F. Calvisi received his Medical Doctor and Clinical Pathologist degrees from the Medical School of the University of Sassari, Italy. Afterward, he joined the Laboratory of Experimental Carcinogenesis directed by Dr. Snorri S. Thorgeirsson at the National Cancer Institute, MD, USA. He investigated the molecular mechanisms involved in mouse liver carcinogenesis and their relevance for the human disease. Subsequently, he established his own laboratory at the Medical School of the University of Greifswald, Germany. Currently, he is a Professor of Experimental Tumor Pathology at the University of Regensburg, Germany, and Associate Professor of General Pathology at the University of Sassari, Italy. Prof. Calvisi is a member of the Technical-Scientific Committee of the Italian Association Against Cancer (AIRC) as well as a member of the European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL) and the European Network for the Study of Cholangiocarcinoma (ENSCCA). He is the Associate Editor of several peer-reviewed journals, such as Carcinogenesis, Cancers, Seminars in Liver Disease, and PlosOne. He is also a reviewer for several journals and official agencies in Europe. He authored more than 200 publications in peer-reviewed journals to date. His scientific interest centers on liver cancer, specifically on the molecular pathogenesis of hepatobiliary tumors and innovative therapies targeting signaling pathways and cancer metabolism.

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