SPANISH researchers have made a potentially significant breakthrough in the battle against liver cancer.

A study of malignant hepatoma, led by the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre, discovered how a gene regulator activated by stress controls the survival of cancer cells.

The findings, published in the journal Nature Cell Biology, could now be used to help develop preventative strategies to combat the deadly strain – a common form of liver cancer responsible for 500,000 deaths worldwide each year,

People with Hepatitis B and C, along with those suffering from cirrhosis of the liver, are at a particularly high risk of suffering from this form of liver cancer.

Scientists used mice to study the development of the disease and found that by altering certain proteins, they were able to significantly alter the development of the disease.

They then tested their findings using more than 150 human tissue samples and found a clear correlation between the proteins and the initiation of liver cancer.

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