Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a major cause of liver disease including metabolic disease, fibrosis, cirrhosis, and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). HCV induces and promotes liver disease progression by perturbing a range of survival, proliferative, and metabolic pathways within the proinflammatory cellular microenvironment. The recent breakthrough in antiviral therapy using direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) can cure >90% of HCV patients. However, viral cure cannot fully eliminate the HCC risk, especially in patients with advanced liver disease or comorbidities. HCV induces an epigenetic viral footprint that promotes a pro-oncogenic hepatic signature, which persists after DAA cure. In this review, we summarize the main signaling pathways deregulated by HCV infection, with potential impact on liver pathogenesis. HCV-induced persistent signaling patterns may serve as biomarkers for the stratification of HCV-cured patients at high risk of developing HCC. Moreover, these signaling pathways are potential targets for novel chemopreventive strategies.
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