Calvisi, Diego Francesco and Frau, Maddalena and Tomasi, Maria Lauda and Feo, Francesco and Pascale, Rosa Maria (2012) Deregulation of signalling pathways in prognostic subtypes of hepatocellular carcinoma: novel insights from interspecies comparison. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA): reviews on cancer, Vol. 1826 (1), p. 215-237. eISSN 1879-2561. Article.
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Hepatocellular carcinoma is a frequent and fatal disease. Recent researches on rodent models and human hepatocarcinogenesis contributed to unravel the molecular mechanisms of hepatocellular carcinoma dedifferentiation and progression, and allowed the discovery of several alterations underlying the deregulation of cell cycle and signalling pathways. This review provides an interpretive analysis of the results of these studies. Mounting evidence emphasises the role of up-regulation of RAS/ERK, PI3K/AKT, IKK/NF-kB, WNT, TGF-β, NOTCH, Hedgehog, and Hippo signalling pathways as well as of aberrant proteasomal activity in hepatocarcinogenesis. Signalling deregulation often occurs in preneoplastic stages of rodent and human hepatocarcinogenesis and progressively increases in carcinomas, being most pronounced in more aggressive tumours. Numerous changes in signalling cascades are involved in the deregulation of carbohydrate, lipid, and methionine metabolism, which play a role in the maintenance of the transformed phenotype. Recent studies on the role of microRNAs in signalling deregulation, and on the interplay between signalling pathways led to crucial achievements in the knowledge of the network of signalling cascades, essential for the development of adjuvant therapies of liver cancer. Furthermore, the analysis of the mechanisms involved in signalling deregulation allowed the identification of numerous putative prognostic markers and novel therapeutic targets of specific hepatocellular carcinoma subtypes associated with different biologic and clinical features. This is of prime importance for the selection of patient subgroups that are most likely to obtain clinical benefit and, hence, for successful development of targeted therapies for liver cancer.
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