Division of Gastroenterology, Tohoku University Hospital, 1-1 Seiryo-Machi, Aoba-ku, Sendai City, Miyagi 980-8574, Japan.
Viral hepatitis with hepatitis C virus or hepatitis B virus and chronic liver disease such as alcoholic or nonalcoholic steatohepatitis are critical factors in the development of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Furthermore, diabetes is known as an independent risk factor for HCC. Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) is known to have an important role in fatty liver, and the mechanism of carcinogenesis has been clarified. PPAR controls ligand-dependent transcription, and three subtypes (α, δ, and γ) in humans are known. PPARs could contribute to the mechanisms of cell cycling, anti-inflammatory responses, and apoptosis. Therefore, to clarify the pathogenesis of HCC, we should examine PPAR signaling. In this paper, we have summarized the relevance of PPARs to the pathogenesis of HCC and cancer stem cells and possible therapeutic options through modifying PPAR signaling.