Opportunities for targeted therapies in hepatocellular carcinoma.
Hepatocellular cancer (HCC) is the fifth most common solid tumor worldwide, accounting for 500,000 new cases annually. Although less common in the United States, HCC is expected to increase in incidence over the next two decades largely because of the prevalence of hepatitis C virus infection. A majority of patients present with advanced disease and are not candidates for liver transplantation, surgical resection, or regional therapy. In 60% to 80% of patients with HCC, treatment is complicated by underlying liver cirrhosis and hepatic dysfunction. Systemic treatments are minimally effective, can have significant toxicity, and have not been shown to improve patient survival. New approaches targeting molecular abnormalities specific to HCC are needed to improve patient outcome. This review summarizes the state of knowledge of those key aspects of the molecular pathogenesis of HCC that may represent rational therapeutic targets in this disease. Relevant preclinical and clinical information on novel compounds directed toward abnormalities in HCC is reviewed.
Thomas, MB; Abbruzzese, JL
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