International and National Data and Sample Registry

Dr. Roberts and his research team in the Hepatobiliary Cancer Laboratory are recruiting patients and working with other institutions to help discover information about causes and risk factors for hepatobiliary cancers.

Dr. Roberts is leading several research projects involving patient registries and consortia for hepatobiliary cancers.

International Hepatobiliary Neoplasia Registry and Biorepository

This project in the Hepatobiliary Cancer Lab aims to enroll patients with liver, bile duct and gallbladder cancers or people who have risk factors for these cancers.

Patients complete a risk factor and family history questionnaire and provide a blood sample. Patients who have had surgery also provide a tissue sample.

This data will help the lab's efforts to identify the epidemiology, risk factors and treatment outcome for patients with these types of hepatobiliary cancers.

In addition, the collected samples from this project are analyzed to identify potential biomarkers for the early diagnosis of hepatobiliary cancer and to help predict treatment outcome.

Genome-Wide Association Study in Biliary Tract Cancer to Identify New Genetic Susceptibility Loci and Gene x Environment Interactions

The Hepatobiliary Cancer Lab has assembled a consortium of 34 North American and European institutions as part of the International Cholangiocarcinoma Research Network (ICRN), established by the Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation and coordinated at Mayo Clinic.

The consortium proposes a genome-wide association study of cholangiocarcinoma that will enable the integration of genetic, environmental and clinical data. The overall objective of this project is to identify novel genetic loci that predispose people to developing cholangiocarcinoma.

Genome-Wide Association Study in Hepatocellular Carcinoma

Also as part of its research, the Hepatobiliary Cancer Lab assembled a consortium of 18 U.S. institutions to conduct a genome-wide association study in hepatocellular carcinoma.

The goal of this project is to identify novel loci and genetic factors that influence susceptibility to hepatocellular carcinoma by genetically delineating etiologic heterogeneity, progression from chronic hepatitis C virus infection to hepatocellular carcinoma, and clinical outcomes of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma by using a high-density single nucleotide polymorphism analysis of genomic DNA from controls and patients with hepatocellular carcinoma.

Dr. Roberts and his research team hypothesize that unique host genetic factors can predict hepatocellular carcinoma risk in nonviral cases, whereas other markers may predict hepatocellular carcinoma development in patients with chronic hepatitis C virus infection and clinical outcome in hepatocellular carcinoma, including response to therapy.

The principal investigator of this research project is Manal Hassan, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D., of MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Observational Study of Persons With Hepatitis B Virus Infection in North America

The lab has recruited a cohort of patients with hepatitis B virus infection. These patients are undergoing longitudinal observation of their clinical outcomes and changes in their virologic and immunologic status over time. Patients are also monitored for participation in clinical trials of new regimens for hepatitis B virus infection. This project is done in conjunction with the Hepatitis B Research Network, which is funded by the National Institutes of Health.