Dysregulation of growth factor signaling in human hepatocellular carcinoma

Oncogene. 2006 Jun 26;25(27):3787-800. doi: 10.1038/sj.onc.1209556.


Dysregulation of pleiotropic growth factors, receptors and their downstream signaling pathway components represent a central protumorigenic principle in human hepatocarcinogenesis. Especially the Insulin-like Growth Factor/IGF-1 receptor (IGF/IGF-1R), Hepatocyte Growth Factor (HGF/MET), Wingless (Wnt/beta-catenin/FZD), Transforming Growth Factor alpha/Epidermal Growth Factor receptor (TGFalpha/EGFR) and Transforming Growth Factor beta (TGFbeta/TbetaR) pathways contribute to proliferation, antiapoptosis and invasive behavior of tumor cells. This review focuses on the relevant alterations in these pathways identified in human human hepatocellular carcinomas (HCCs). Resultant functional effects are modulated by multiple cross-talks between the different signaling pathways and additional tumor-relevant factors, such as cyclooxygenase-2 and p53. Several specific strategies are currently under development such as receptor kinase inhibitors, neutralizing antibodies and antagonistic proteins, which may improve the systemic treatment of human HCCs.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / drug therapy
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / metabolism*
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / pathology*
  • Growth Substances / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Liver Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Liver Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Liver Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*


  • Growth Substances