Newswise (Internet) 02/28/06 A discovery by researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (UTMB) and their colleagues at China’s Sun Yat-Sen and Shandong Universities could lead to new methods of diagnosing and treating the most common form of liver cancer, hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). In an article published online in the journal Carcinogenesis, the scientists report that HCC tissue samples taken from liver cancer patients and HCC experimental cell lines both tested positive for a particular series of biochemical reactions implicated in many other common cancers, including those of the skin, prostate, brain, lung and breast. “We think that hedgehog signaling activation is one of the major events involved in the development of hepatocellular carcinomas, so identifying hedgehog signaling would be an important way to diagnose HCC in its early stages,” said the study’s lead author, Jingwu Xie, an associate professor of pharmacology and toxicology at UTMB and member of the university’s Sealy Center for Cancer Cell Biology.