Author(s): Herr I, Schemmer P, Bchler MW
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Abstract Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) ranks among the 10 most common cancers worldwide. The fact that HCC is resistant to conventional chemotherapy and is rarely amenable to radiotherapy leaves this disease with no effective therapeutic options and a very poor prognosis. Therefore, the development of more effective therapeutic tools and strategies is much needed. HCCs are phenotypically and genetically heterogeneous tumors that commonly emerge on a background of chronic liver diseases, most of which culminate in cirrhosis, such as alcoholic cirrhosis and chronic hepatitis B and C infections. This review outlines recent findings on the progression of liver disease, including our knowledge of the role of apoptotic processes, with an emphasis on the tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL). The proapoptotic and antiapoptotic properties of TRAIL, its involvement in liver injury, and its potential as a therapeutic agent in fibrosis and HCC are discussed. Several contradictory and confusing data have not yet been resolved or placed into perspective, such as the influence of factors that determine the TRAIL sensitivity of target cells, including the tumor microenvironment or cirrhotic tissue. Therefore, we assess these data from the perspectives of gastroenterologists (P.S. and M.W.B.) and a molecular oncologist (I.H.) with research interests in liver injury, apoptosis, and experimental therapeutics.
This article was published in Hepatology
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Experimental Pharmacology