Liver-related research at the Department of Surgery focuses on three themes.

1. Sinusoidal Obstruction Syndrome (SOS)

This is a common and potentially fatal complication of high-dose cancer chemotherapy, likely caused by damage and subsequent necrosis of sinusoidal endothelial cells. One of the research aims is to identify risk factors for development of SOS in patients receiving oxaliplatin for treatment of colorectal liver metastasis.

2. Post-resection liver failure (PLF)

This is a feared and potentially lethal complication occurring in up to 9% of patients undergoing partial hepatic resection. Insufficient quantity or quality of the remnant liver resulting in inadequate liver regeneration plays a major role in its pathogenesis. Rather than impairment of synthetic function, failure of the liver’s secretory function (resulting in retention of harmful biliary components) may be the underlying culprit. Research focuses on identifying risk factors for development of PLF, development of therapies to prevent PLF, and elucidation of molecular mechanism underlying PLF.

3. Disturbances in the enterohepatic circulation (EHC)

An intricate interaction between the gut and the hepatobiliary system critically determines functioning of these organs in health and disease. The EHC plays an important role in this interplay via cycling of signaling (bile salts) and immune (secretory IgA) molecules. Bacterial overgrowth and impaired gut barrier function are apparent in several conditions that affect the EHC, including intestinal failure-associated liver disease (IFALD) and obstructive malignancies (e.g. head of pancreas carcinoma). Research focuses on the role of bile salt signaling in aforementioned disorders, and on development of treatments for preventing/reversing IFALD.