The androgen receptor as an emerging target in hepatocellular carcinoma
Tatsuo Kanda, Osamu Yokosuka
Department of Gastroenterology and Nephrology, Chiba University, Graduate School of Medicine, Chiba, Japan
Abstract: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is one of the male-dominant liver diseases with poor prognosis, although treatments for HCC have been progressing in the past decades. Androgen receptor (AR) is a member of the nuclear receptor superfamily. Previous studies reported that AR was expressed in human HCC and non-HCC tissues. AR is activated both ligand-dependently and ligand-independently. The latter is associated with a mitogen-activated protein kinase–, v-akt murine thymoma viral oncogene homolog 1–, or signal-transducer and activator of transcription–signaling pathway, which has been implicated in the development of HCC. It has been reported that more than 200 RNA expression levels are altered by androgen treatment. In the liver, androgen-responsive genes are cytochrome P450s, transforming growth factor , vascular endothelial growth factor, and glucose-regulated protein 78 kDa, which are also associated with human hepatocarcinogenesis. Recent studies also revealed that AR plays a role in cell migration and metastasis. It is possible that cross-talk among AR-signaling, endoplasmic reticulum stress, and innate immune response is important for human hepatocarcinogenesis and HCC development. This review shows that AR could play a potential role in human HCC and represent one of the important target molecules for the treatment of HCC.
Keywords: vascular endothelial growth factor, angiogenesis, glucose-regulated protein 78 kDa, hepatocarcinogenesis, molecular targets