2014 HCCEC Meeting Minutes

With support from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and a philanthropic fund for Gastrointestinal Cancer Research, the second meeting of the Hepatocellular Carcinoma Epidemiology Consortium (HCCEC) was conducted at the Hilton Plaza in Houston Medical Center, on Friday, September, 26, 2014. The meeting was aimed at discussing a strategic plan for harmonization of clinical and epidemiological data between participating centers of HCCEC. In addition, we discussed collaboration between various American institutions to study natural history of HCC in Non-white patients with HCC including Asians, Hispanics and African Americans.  A formal HCCEC Meeting Agenda was planned for the meeting and was distributed to all Investigators before the meeting.

Dr. Hassan opened the meeting with a short introduction and welcome statement; followed by a 20-minute presentation to highlight the main critiques of the revised R01 which was submitted to propose a multicenter genome-wide association study (GWAS). Summary statement and the response to critiques were discussed between investigators in the room.

After Dr. Hassan’s presentation, Dr. El-Serag provided a detailed presentation about the epidemiology and natural history of HCC and the burden of underlying cirrhosis. Special emphasis about HCC among Hispanics also presented by Dr. El Serag, after which Dr. Ali, post-doctoral fellow, at MD Anderson, presented the description of African American patients with HCC who were referred to MD Anderson  and demonstrated a nice comparison of the epidemiological and clinical data between African Americans and Caucasians. Given the large Asian population in West Cost of USA including San Francisco, Dr. Bracci, in collaboration with Dr. Kelley, presented a brief description of Asian populations with HCC referred to UCSF.

The second session of the meeting included a pleasant presentation by Dr. Lai, a program director of epidemiology and genomics at NCI, who presented an overall picture of NCI and EGRP structure, the vision of the DCCPS, and current NCI resources. Figures and data on funded grants (FY13) were presented.

The third session of the meeting highlighted data harmonization between participating centers. This session covered 3 topics: 1) Use of Rave Registry Data Base by Mayo Clinic to optimize data structure and work on harmonization of epidemiological and clinical data for HCC research between the participating centers of HCCEC. From the research team of Dr. Lewis Roberts, Miss Giama, the RN of the Hepatobiliary diseases at Mayo Clinic, gave a detailed presentation about the structure of the Rave Registry Data Base which was customized according to the HCCEC DataSchema of the most relevant variables of HCC research.  In addition Dr. Miksade, medical oncologist from BIDMC, gave a wonderful presentation about the challenges of integrating the clinical data into the epidemiological, basic, and molecular data in cancer research in general and with special highlight of HCC important clinical pictures.  The third presentation of the third session was given by Dr. Petersen, the leader of Pancreatic Cancer Case-Control Consortium (www.Panc4.org). She provided a great presentation about the main points should be implemented in HCCEC including steering committee, points and challenges related to data harmonization, communication between investigators and production of joint publications between HCCEC members related to different research topics in HCC.

The last session of the HCCEC meeting included a highlight on the recent achievement of the HCC research from Canada. Dr. Sean, surgical oncologist at Toronto University, provided a nice presentation with newly generated results on the impact of genetic variations on overall survival.

Open discussions about several points related to collaboration and data harmonization was initiated and included the following:

  1. Discussion of the Reviewers comments of the joint R01
  2. Agreement of the HCCEC members to keep HCV positive population in the GWAS analysis
  3. Agreement of the HCCEC members to resubmit GWAS R01 application
  4. Initiate the first step for  Data Harmonization between collaborative centers
  5. Focus on the Epidemiological Data  Harmonization as an initial step
  6. Use of the Rave Registry Data Base by Mayo Clinic to initiate the first step with the development of joint publication/s
  7. Steering Committee definition and request for volunteers
  8. Update the website for the consortium with future restriction to HCCEC members only (not public website)
  9. Solicit and identify candidate journals to generate one special issue on HCC natural history in North America. Such issue will be authored by HCCEC members to cover high impact topics of HCC research