Role of the microenvironment in hepatocellular carcinoma development and progression

Cancer Treat Rev. 2012 May;38(3):218-25. doi: 10.1016/j.ctrv.2011.06.010. Epub 2011 Jul 16.


Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the most common form of liver cancer throughout the world. The microenvironment of the HCC is composed of non-tumor cells and their stroma, with the stroma having been implicated in the regulation of tumor growth, metastatic potential and outcome following therapy. Thus, the tumor microenvironment has become an important target for HCC treatment. In this review article, we will discuss the cellular and molecular components of the hepatoma microenvironment, effects on tumor development and progression, the relationship to prognosis, and the implications for targeting of this microenvironment in the control of HCC.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / drug therapy
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / pathology*
  • Dendritic Cells
  • Disease Progression
  • Extracellular Matrix / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Liver Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Liver Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic
  • Stromal Cells
  • Tumor Microenvironment*


  • Antineoplastic Agents