Source Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Musashino Red-Cross Hospital, Musashinoshi, Tokyo, Japan.
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) has characteristic features of the coexistence of two life-threatening conditions, cancer and cirrhosis, which makes prognostic assessment difficult. In addition, the high rate of intrahepatic recurrence is a key feature that correlates with poor prognosis and its prevention is an issue for urgent investigation. Gene expression in the tumor and adjacent liver tissue for the prediction of intrahepatic recurrence of HCC has been extensively investigated. Among them, the expression of progenitor cell feature markers in the cancer cells such as epidermal cell adhesion molecule (EpCAM), cytokeratin 19 (CK19) and CD 133 have been shown to be associated with intrahepatic recurrence of HCC. Gene expression patterns from adjacent tissues were shown to predict early and overall recurrence in patients with HCC. Insulin resistance should be included in the analysis for the prevention of recurrence. To suppress or eradicate the replication of hepatitis B and C virus must be the most important issue for prevention. Supplementation by branched chain amino acid-enrichment and administration of vitamin K, acyclic retinoid and chemotherapeutic agents have been examined. There is an urgent need to develop a predictive tool and an effective treatment for prevention. It would be extremely valuable to find a useful biomarker for prediction and to develop new molecular targeting agents for the prevention of HCC recurrence in the near future.