The liver fluke Opisthorchis felineus is a member of the triad of epidemiologically relevant species of the trematode family Opisthorchiidae, and the causative agent of opisthorchiasis felinea over an extensive range that spans regions of Eurasia. The International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies the infection with the liver flukes Opisthorchis viverrini and Clonorchis sinensis as group 1 agents and a major risk factor for cholangiocarcinoma. However, the carcinogenic potential of the infection with O. felineus is less clear. Here, we present findings that support the inclusion of O. felineus in the Group 1 list of biological carcinogens. Two discrete lines of evidence support the notion that infection with this liver fluke is carcinogenic. First, novel oxysterol-like metabolites detected by liquid chromatography-mass spectroscopy in the egg and adult developmental stages of O. felineus, and in bile, sera, and urine of liver fluke-infected hamsters exhibited marked similarity to oxysterol-like molecules known from O. viverrini. Numerous oxysterols and related DNA-adducts detected in the liver fluke eggs and in bile from infected hamsters suggested that infection-associated oxysterols induced chromosomal lesions in host cells. Second, histological analysis of liver sections from hamsters infected with O. felineus confirmed portal area enlargement, inflammation with severe periductal fibrosis and changes in the epithelium of the biliary tract characterized as biliary intraepithelial neoplasia, BilIN. The consonance of these biochemical and histopathological changes revealed that O. felineus infection in this rodent model induced precancerous lesions conducive to malignancy.
- Bile Duct Neoplasms/blood
- Bile Ducts, Intrahepatic/parasitology
- Biomarkers, Tumor/blood
- Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
- DNA Adducts/blood
- Neoplasms, Experimental/blood