Molecular approaches to treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma

Anja Lachenmayer, Clara Alsinet, Charissa Y. Chang, Josep M. Llovet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

79 Scopus citations


Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) remains a highly complex disease resistant to commonly used chemotherapy and radiotherapy. As the sixth most common cancer worldwide with the third highest mortality rate and very poorly understood molecular pathways driving hepatocarcinogenesis, new treatment strategies are urgently needed for this devastating disease. The multikinase inhibitor sorafenib was the first molecular targeted drug in HCC that led to significant survival benefit in patients with advanced tumors. It is the first drug to be considered standard of care for advanced HCC and supports the importance of molecular therapies in the treatment of this cancer. Analyses of genetic and epigenetic alterations as well as different molecular pathways involved in the development of HCC help to identify potential new druggable targets. A variety of novel compounds are already under preclinical or clinical investigation, and accumulating evidence suggests that combination therapy targeting different pathways will potentiate anti-tumoral effects and will become the future therapeutic approach. In addition the establishment of a robust molecular classification will pave the way for a more personalized treatment scheme in HCC. In this article we review the current knowledge of the molecular pathogenesis of HCC and provide an overview of molecular targeted therapies in the management of HCC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S264-S272
JournalDigestive and Liver Disease
Issue numberSUPPL. 3
StatePublished - Jul 2010


  • Clinical trials
  • Methylation
  • Molecular pathogenesis
  • Molecular targeted therapy
  • Tyrosine kinase inhibitors


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