Published online Aug 14, 2012. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v18.i30.3941
Revised: June 26, 2012
Accepted: June 28, 2012
Published online: August 14, 2012
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a leading cause of cancer-related death worldwide. The recurrence of HCC after curative treatments is currently a major hurdle. Identification of subsets of patients with distinct prognosis provides an opportunity to tailor therapeutic approaches as well as to select the patients with specific sub-phenotypes for targeted therapy. Thus, the development of gene expression profiles to improve the prediction of HCC prognosis is important for HCC management. Although several gene signatures have been evaluated for the prediction of HCC prognosis, there is no consensus on the predictive power of these signatures. Using systematic approaches to evaluate these signatures and combine them with clinicopathologic information may provide more accurate prediction of HCC prognosis. Recently, Villanueva et al developed a composite prognostic model incorporating gene expression patterns in both tumor and adjacent tissues to predict HCC recurrence. In this commentary, we summarize the current progress in using gene signatures to predict HCC prognosis, and discuss the importance, existing issues and future research directions in this field.