Chronic inflammation, immune escape, and oncogenesis in the liver: a unique neighborhood for novel intersections

Hepatology. 2012 Oct;56(4):1567-74. doi: 10.1002/hep.25674. Epub 2012 Sep 11.


Sustained hepatic inflammation, driven by alcohol consumption, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, and/or chronic viral hepatitis (hepatitis B and C), results in damage to parenchyma, oxidative stress, and compensatory regeneration/proliferation. There is substantial evidence linking these inflammation-associated events with the increased incidence of hepatocellular carcinogenesis. Although acute liver inflammation can play a vital and beneficial role in response to liver damage or acute infection, the effects of chronic liver inflammation, including liver fibrosis and cirrhosis, are sufficient in a fraction of individuals to initiate the process of transformation and the development of hepatocellular carcinoma. This review highlights immune-dependent mechanisms that may be associated with hepatocellular oncogenesis, including critical transformative events/pathways in the context of chronic inflammation and subverted tolerogenesis.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / immunology
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / pathology*
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / immunology*
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / pathology
  • Fatty Liver / immunology
  • Fatty Liver / pathology
  • Hepatitis B, Chronic / immunology
  • Hepatitis B, Chronic / pathology
  • Hepatitis C, Chronic / immunology
  • Hepatitis C, Chronic / pathology
  • Hepatitis, Chronic / immunology
  • Hepatitis, Chronic / pathology
  • Hepatitis, Viral, Human / immunology
  • Hepatitis, Viral, Human / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Liver Cirrhosis / immunology
  • Liver Cirrhosis / pathology
  • Liver Neoplasms / immunology
  • Liver Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
  • Oxidative Stress / immunology
  • Oxidative Stress / physiology
  • Precancerous Conditions / pathology
  • Prognosis