Molecular subtyping of hepatocellular carcinoma: A step toward precision medicine

Cancer Commun (Lond). 2020 Dec;40(12):681-693. doi: 10.1002/cac2.12115. Epub 2020 Dec 8.


Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is one of the most prevalent and fatal digestive tumors. Treatment for this disease has been constraint by heterogeneity of this group of tumors, which has greatly limited the progress in personalized therapy. Although existing studies have revealed the genetic and epigenetic blueprints that drive HCCs, many of the molecular mechanisms that lead to HCCs remain elusive. Recent advances in techniques for studying functional genomics, such as genome sequencing and transcriptomic analyses, have led to the discovery of molecular mechanisms that participate in the initiation and evolution of HCC. Integrative multi-omics analyses have identified several molecular subtypes of HCC associated with specific molecular characteristics and clinical outcomes. Deciphering similar molecular features among highly heterogeneous HCC patients is a prerequisite to implementation of personalized therapeutics. This review summarizes the current research progresses in precision therapy on the backbone of molecular subtypes of HCC.

Keywords: hepatocellular carcinoma; immune subtype; molecular subtyping; multi-omics subtype; mutation subtype; precision medicine; proteomic subtype; transcriptome genotype.

Publication types

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