Rho GTPases in hepatocellular carcinoma

Biochim Biophys Acta. 2009 Apr;1795(2):137-51. doi: 10.1016/j.bbcan.2008.12.003. Epub 2009 Jan 7.


Rho GTPases are major regulators of signal transduction pathways and play key roles in processes including actin dynamics, cell cycle progression, cell survival and gene expression, whose deregulation may lead to tumorigenesis. A growing number of in vitro and in vivo studies using tumor-derived cell lines, primary tumors and animal cancer models strongly suggest that altered Rho GTPase signaling plays an important role in the initiation as well as in the progression of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), one of the deadliest human cancers in the world. These alterations can occur at the level of the GTPases themselves or of one of their regulators or effectors. The participation into the tumorigenic process can occur either through the over-expression of one of these components which presents an oncogenic activity as illustrated with RhoA and C or through the attenuation of the expression of a component presenting tumor suppressor activity as for Cdc42 or the RhoGAP, DLC-1. Consequently, these observations reflect the heterogeneity and the complexity of liver carcinogenesis. Recently, pharmacological approaches targeting Rho GTPase signaling have been used in HCC-derived models with relative success but remain to be validated in more physiologically relevant systems. Therefore, therapeutic approaches targeting Rho GTPase signaling may provide a novel alternative for anti-HCC therapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • 1-(5-Isoquinolinesulfonyl)-2-Methylpiperazine / analogs & derivatives
  • 1-(5-Isoquinolinesulfonyl)-2-Methylpiperazine / therapeutic use
  • Amides / therapeutic use
  • Animals
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / drug therapy
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / etiology*
  • Disease Progression
  • Farnesyltranstransferase / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Humans
  • Liver Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Liver Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Pyridines / therapeutic use
  • Signal Transduction
  • rho GTP-Binding Proteins / antagonists & inhibitors
  • rho GTP-Binding Proteins / classification
  • rho GTP-Binding Proteins / physiology*


  • Amides
  • Pyridines
  • Y 27632
  • 1-(5-Isoquinolinesulfonyl)-2-Methylpiperazine
  • Farnesyltranstransferase
  • rho GTP-Binding Proteins
  • fasudil