Systemic Management for Advanced Hepatocellular Carcinoma: A Review of the Molecular Pathways of Carcinogenesis, Current and Emerging Therapies, and Novel Treatment Strategies

Saad Saffo, Tamar H. Taddei*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations

Abstract

Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) arises from a number of cirrhosis-related and non-cirrhosis-related exposures and is one of the leading causes of cancer-related deaths worldwide. Achieving a durable cure currently relies on either resection or transplantation, but since most patients will be diagnosed with inoperable disease, there is great interest in achieving more effective systemic therapies. At a molecular level, HCC is heterogeneous, but initial treatment strategies, including the use of multi-targeted tyrosine kinase inhibitors and checkpoint inhibitors, have been fairly homogenous, depending on general host factors and overall tumor burden rather than specific molecular signatures. Over the past 2 decades, however, there has been significant success in identifying key molecular targets, including driver mutations involving the telomerase reverse transcriptase, p53, and beta-catenin genes, and significant work is now being devoted to translating these discoveries into the development of robust and well-tolerated targeted therapies. Furthermore, multi-modal therapies have also begun to emerge, harnessing possible synergism amongst a variety of different treatment classes. As the findings of these landmark trials become available over the next several years, the landscape of the systemic management of advanced HCC will change significantly.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1016-1029
Number of pages14
JournalDigestive diseases and sciences
Volume64
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2019

Keywords

  • Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC)
  • Immunotherapy
  • Molecular-targeted
  • Multi-modal
  • Multi-targeted tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs)
  • Systemic therapies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology
  • Physiology

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