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Hepatocellular Carcinoma: Molecular Mechanisms and Targeted Therapies

Ali Alqahtani, Khan, Abdurahman Alloghbi, Said Ahmed, Mushtaq Ashraf, Danae M. Hammouda, Zubair Khan, Tamer S. Said Ahmed, Tamer Said Ahmed
Published: 23 August 2019
 by  MDPI
Medicina , Volume 55; doi:10.3390/medicina55090526

Abstract: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is one of the most common and lethal malignant tumors worldwide. HCC is a complex process that is associated with several etiological factors, which in turn result in aberrant activation of different cellular and molecular pathways and the disruption of balance between activation and inactivation of protooncogenes and tumor suppressor genes, respectively. Since HCC most often occurs in the setting of a diseased or cirrhotic liver and most of the patients are diagnosed at the late stage of disease, prognosis is generally poor. At present, limited treatment options with marginal clinical benefits are available. Systemic therapy, particularly in the form of conventional cytotoxic drugs, are generally ineffective. In recent years, molecular-targeted therapies have been clinically used to treat various cancers, including liver cancer. This approach inhibits the growth of tumor cells by interfering with molecules that are involved in carcinogenesis, which makes it more selective and specific than cytotoxic chemotherapy. Many clinical trials have been carried out while using molecular targeted drugs in advanced HCC with many more in progress. The clinical trials in HCC to date have evaluated a single-targeted therapy alone, or two or more targeted therapies in parallel. The aim of this review is to provide insight of various molecular mechanisms, leading to HCC development and progression, and also the range of experimental therapeutics for patients with advanced HCC. The review will summarize different clinical trials data the successes and failures of these treatments, as well as the most effective and approved drugs designed against HCC.
Keywords: Hepatocellular carcinoma / targeted therapy / precision medicine / molecular pathways

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