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A review on the diagnosis and treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma with a focus on the role of Wnts and the dickkopf family of Wnt inhibitors

Authors Shi J, Keller J, Zhang J, Keller E

Received 6 December 2013

Accepted for publication 27 January 2014

Published 6 March 2014 Volume 2014:1 Pages 1—7

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/JHC.S44537

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 5

Junlin Shi,1,2 Jill M Keller,3 Jian Zhang,1,2 Evan T Keller1–3

1Key Laboratory of Longevity and Ageing-Related Diseases, Ministry of Education, Nanning, Guangxi, People's Republic of China; 2Center for Translational Medicine, Guangxi Medical University, Nanning, Guangxi, People's Republic of China; 3Department of Urology, School of Medicine, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA

Abstract: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is one of the most prevalent cancers worldwide. There are multiple etiologic factors including viral and environmental influences that can lead to HCC. Successful screening for early HCC is challenging due to the lack of well characterized and specific biomarkers. However, achieving successful screening is critically important as early diagnosis can potentially provide curative opportunities. Once HCC is advanced, there are multiple therapeutic venues, but most eventually fail, therefore developing new targeted therapies may provide greater chance for effective therapies. Along these lines, the Wnt pathway has been identified as contributing to the development and progression of HCC. Wnts can modify HCC growth and invasive ability. A key factor in the Wnt pathway is the dickkopf (DKK) family of Wnt inhibitors. DKKs have also been shown to modulate HCC progression. Additionally, several studies have suggested that DKK expression in tissue and serum has diagnostic and prognostic value.

Keywords: hepatoma, DKK, beta-catenin, morphogen, biomarker

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