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Oncogene. 2003 Aug 11;22(33):5093-107.

Molecular viral oncology of hepatocellular carcinoma.

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Department of Molecular Pharmacology and Biochemistry, Jefferson Center for Biomedical Research of Thomas Jefferson University, 700 East Butler Ave., Doylestown, PA 18901, USA.


Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the fifth most common cancer, but the third leading cause of cancer death, in the world, with more than 500,000 fatalities annually. The major etiology of HCC/liver cancer in people is hepatitis B virus (HBV), followed by hepatitis C virus infection (HCV), although nonviral causes also play a role in a minority of cases. Recent molecular studies confirm what was suspected: that HCC tissue from different individuals have many phenotypic differences. However, there are clearly features that unify HCC occurring in a background of viral hepatitis B and C. HCC due to HBV and HCV may be an indirect result of enhanced hepatocyte turnover that occurs in an effort to replace infected cells that have been immunologically attacked. Viral functions may also play a more direct role in mediating oncogenesis. This review considers the molecular and cellular mechanisms involved in primary hepatocellular carcinoma, using a viral perspective.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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