Molecular pathogenesis of hepatocellular carcinoma

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Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the fifth most common cancer and the third leading cause of cancer death worldwide. Hepatocarcinogenesis is a multistep process evolving from normal through chronic hepatitis/cirrhosis and dysplastic nodules to HCC. With advances in molecular methods, there is a growing understanding of the molecular mechanisms in hepatocarcinogenesis. Hepatocarcinogenesis is strongly linked to increases in allelic losses, chromosomal changes, gene mutations, epigenetic alterations and alterations in molecular cellular pathways. Some of these alterations are accompanied by a stepwise increase in the different pathological disease stages in hepatocarcinogenesis. Overall, a detailed understanding of the underlying molecular mechanisms involved in the progression of HCC is of fundamental importance to the development of effective prevention and treatment regimes for HCC.

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