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Biomarkers for hepatocellular carcinoma: diagnostic and therapeutic utility

Authors Ferrin G, Aguilar-Melero P, Rodríguez-Perálvarez M, Montero-Álvarez JL, de la Mata M

Received 16 October 2014

Accepted for publication 4 February 2015

Published 13 April 2015 Volume 2015:7 Pages 1—10


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Gerry Lake-Bakaar

Gustavo Ferrín,1,2 Patricia Aguilar-Melero,1 Manuel Rodríguez-Perálvarez,1,2 José Luis Montero-Álvarez,1,2 Manuel de la Mata1,2

1Liver Unit, Instituto Maimónides de Investigación Biomédica de Córdoba (IMIBIC), Hospital Universitario Reina Sofía, Córdoba, Spain; 2Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red (CIBER), Enfermedades Hepáticas y Digestivas, Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Madrid, Spain

Abstract: Because of the high prevalence and associated-mortality of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), early diagnosis of the disease is vital for patient survival. In this regard, tumor size is one of the two main prognostic factors for surgical resection, which constitutes the only curative treatment for HCC along with liver transplantation. However, techniques for HCC surveillance and diagnosis that are currently used in clinical practice have certain limitations that may be inherent to the tumor development. Thus, it is important to continue efforts in the search for biomarkers that increase diagnostic accuracy for HCC. In this review, we focus on different biological sources of candidate biomarkers for HCC diagnosis. Although those biomarkers identified from biological samples obtained by noninvasive methods have greater diagnostic value, we have also considered those obtained from liver tissue because of their potential therapeutic value. To date, sorafenib is the only US Food and Drug Administration-approved antineoplastic for HCC. However, this therapeutic agent shows very low tumor response rates and frequently causes acquired resistance in HCC patients. We discuss the use of HCC biomarkers as therapeutic targets themselves, or as targets to increase sensitivity to sorafenib treatment.

Keywords: diagnosis, sorafenib, therapy

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