Identification of environmental exposures linked to the development of liver cancer in the context of obesity and diabetes: There is increasing evidence that metabolic syndrome may increase the risk for liver cancer. Disparities exist across racial/ethnic groups for multiple components of metabolic syndrome, including fatty liver disease, obesity and diabetes. Furthermore, disparities exist in environmental exposures that can adversely affect human health. Therefore, models are needed to study the link between environmental exposures and metabolic syndrome in the development of liver cancer in vulnerable populations.
Determination of epigenetic mechanisms underlying development of liver cancer due to environmental exposures: Epigenetic modifiers have been shown to play a role in tumorigenesis, and may serve as targets for cancer therapeutics. In addition, epigenetic alterations may serve as biomarkers for those who have been adversely exposed to environmental chemicals and/or at risk for development of disease due to these exposures. Few studies, to date, have examined the epigenetic mechanisms that underlie the development of liver cancer due to environmental exposures.