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Sia D.,HCC Translational Research Laboratory | Sia D.,Italian National Cancer Institute | Villanueva A.,HCC Translational Research Laboratory | Villanueva A.,CIBER ISCIII
Oncology | Year: 2011

Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the sixth most common cancer, and its mortality rate is the third highest after lung and colon cancer. Its incidence has significantly increased in the last two decades in close relation with the ubiquitous spread of viral hepatitis. HCC has a poor prognosis since less than 30% of newly diagnosed patients will be eligible for potential curative treatment. Molecular therapies such as sorafenib, a BRAF/ VEGFR/PDGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor, have shown to improve survival in patients with advanced HCC. This recent success has spurred intensive research aimed at identifying aberrant activation of signaling pathways. This approach will probably aid to define previously unrecognized oncogenic addiction loops in HCC and in developing more effective targeted therapies. Copyright © 2011 S. Karger AG.

Zender L.,Helmholtz Center for Infection Research | Zender L.,Hannover Medical School | Villanueva A.,HCC Translational Research Laboratory | Tovar V.,HCC Translational Research Laboratory | And 5 more authors.
Journal of Hepatology | Year: 2010

Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a deadly cancer, whose incidence is increasing worldwide. Albeit the main risk factors for HCC development have been clearly identified, such as hepatitis B and C virus infection and alcohol abuse, there is still preliminary understanding of the key drivers of this malignancy. Recent data suggest that genomic analysis of cirrhotic tissue - the pre-neoplastic carcinogenic field - may provide a read-out to identify at risk populations for cancer development. Given this contextual complexity, it is of utmost importance to characterize the molecular pathogenesis of this disease, and pinpoint the dominant pathways/drivers by integrative oncogenomic approaches and/or sophisticated experimental models. Identification of the dominant proliferative signals and key aberrations will allow for a more personalized therapy. Pathway-based approaches and functional experimental studies have aided in identifying the activation of different signaling cascades in HCC (e.g. epidermal growth factor, insulin-like growth factor, RAS, MTOR, WNT-βcatenin, etc.). However, the introduction of new high-throughput genomic technologies (e.g. microarrays, deep sequencing, etc.), and increased sophistication of computational biology (e.g. bioinformatics, biomodeling, etc.), opens the field to new strategies in oncogene and tumor suppressor discovery. These oncogenomic approaches are framed within emerging new disciplines such as systems biology, which integrates multiple inputs to explain cancer onset and progression. In addition, the consolidation of sophisticated animal models, such as mosaic cancer mouse models or the use of transposons for mutagenesis screens, have been instrumental for the identification of novel tumor drivers. We herein review some classical as well as some recent fast track approaches for oncogene discovery in HCC, and provide a comprehensive landscape of the currently known spectrum of molecular aberrations involved in hepatocarcinogenesis. © 2010 European Association for the Study of the Liver.

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