Cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in hepatocellular carcinoma gender disparity


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Abstract

Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) represents the most common primary liver cancer and one of the most fatal human cancers. Besides alcoholic liver disease as well as genetic and environmental factors, hepatitis B and C viral infections also represent the most important risk factors for onset and development of the disease. In fact, HCC worldwide prevalence varies widely and mirrors the geographical distribution of chronic viral hepatitis. Interestingly, a gender difference was described for this disease: in almost all populations, a male/female ratio averaging between 2:1 and 4:1 was reported. Here, we analyze the implication of cytokines and sex hormones in this issue. Exploiting the emerging knowledge on the possible differential role of hepatitis viruses B and C, we discuss the role of reactive oxygen species and apoptosis dysregulation in the characterization of the molecular mechanisms of gender disparity in the development of HCC.

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