Hepatocellular carcinoma is the third most frequent cause of cancer-related death worldwide; and its incidence rate is increasing. Clinical and molecular medical analyses have revealed substantial information on hepatocarcinogenesis. Hepatocarcinogenesis is a stepwise process during which multiple genes are altered. Genetic changes and their biological consequences in human HCC can be divided into at least 4 groups: i) tumor suppressor genes (p53, retinoblastoma, phosphatase tensin homolog and runt-related transcription factor 3), ii) oncogenes (myc, K-ras, BRAF), iii) reactivation of developmental pathways (Wnt, hedgehog), and iv) growth factors and their receptors (transforming growth factor-α, insulin-like growth factor-2 receptor). An experimental model of human hepatocarcinogenesis such as in vitro neoplastic transformation of human hepatocytes has not been successfully achieved yet, but several immortalized human hepatocyte cell lines have been established. These immortalized human hepatocytes will become useful tools for the elucidation of hepatocarcinogenesis, especially for the initial step of multistep hepatocarcinogenesis.