Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences, College of Medicine University of Central Florida 6900 Lake Nona Blvd., Room #349, Orlando, FL 32827, USA. firstname.lastname@example.org.
The increasing incidence of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is of great concern not only in the United States but throughout the world because of two major reasons: firstly, HCC is one of the most lethal form of malignancies with less than 10% survival rate and secondly, a lack of prudent diagnostics makes early detection of HCC nearly impossible. The poor prognosis of HCC accentuates the need to develop new diagnostic markers and therapeutic approaches. In this review we discuss recent advances made in the discovery of molecular biomarkers and their significance in the detection of HCC. We focus on three major classes of biomarkers: serological, tumor, peri-tumoral tissue and cancer stem cell markers. Considerable progress has been made recently in our understanding of HCC at the molecular level increasing the potential of molecular targeted therapy. A number of molecular targets have been identified that have been showing promising results. Of particular interest is Sorafenib, a multi-tyrosine kinase inhibitor that has been approved for the HCC treatment. Inhibitors of other molecular targets such as VEGF, EGFR, mTOR etc. are emerging as plausible therapeutic agents for the treatment of HCC and are discussed in this review.