Avila MA, Berasain C, Sangro B, Prieto J. New therapies for hepatocellular carcinoma. Oncogene 2006 Jun 26;25(27):3866-3884.
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), one of the most common cancers worldwide, is often diagnosed at an advanced stage when most potentially curative therapies such as resection, transplantation or percutaneous and transarterial interventions are of limited efficacy. The fact that HCC is resistant to conventional chemotherapy, and is rarely amenable to radiotherapy, leaves this disease with no effective therapeutic options and a very poor prognosis. Therefore, the development of more effective therapeutic tools and strategies is much needed. HCCs are phenotypically and genetically heterogeneous tumors that commonly emerge on a background of chronic liver disease. However, in spite of this heterogeneity recent insights into the biology of HCC suggest that certain signaling pathways and molecular alterations are likely to play essential roles in HCC development by promoting cell growth and survival. The identification of such mechanisms may open new avenues for the prevention and treatment of HCC through the development of targeted therapies. In this review we will describe the new potential therapeutic targets and clinical developments that have emerged from progress in the knowledge of HCC biology, In addition, recent advances in gene therapy and combined cell and gene therapy, together with new radiotherapy techniques and immunotherapy in patients with HCC will be discussed.