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.
Copyright © 2012 American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases.