Published online Nov 14, 2015. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v21.i42.12157
Peer-review started: August 13, 2015
First decision: September 11, 2015
Revised: September 18, 2015
Accepted: September 30, 2015
Article in press: September 30, 2015
Published online: November 14, 2015
The major type of human liver cancer is hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), and there are currently many risk factors that contribute to this deadly disease. The majority of HCC occurrences are associated with chronic hepatitis viral infection, and hepatitis B viral (HBV) infection is currently a major health problem in Eastern Asia. Elucidating the genetic mechanisms associated with HBV-induced HCC has been difficult due to the heterogeneity and genetic complexity associated with this disease. A repertoire of animal models has been broadly used to study the pathophysiology and to develop potential treatment regimens for HBV-associated HCC. The use of these animal models has provided valuable genetic information and has been an important contributor to uncovering the factors involved in liver malignant transformation, invasion and metastasis. Recently, transposon-based mouse models are becoming more widely used in liver cancer research to interrogate the genome by forward genetics and also used to validate genes rapidly in a reverse genetic manner. Importantly, these transposon-based rapid reverse genetic mouse models could become crucial in testing potential therapeutic agents before proceeding to clinical trials in human. Therefore, this review will cover the use of transposon-based mouse models to address the problems of liver cancer, especially HBV-associated HCC occurrences in Asia.
Core tip: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the major type of primary liver cancer and the risk factors that contribute to its formation are hepatitis viral infection, alcohol consumption, aflatoxin exposure, hemochromatosis, and tyrosinemia. In vivo forward and reverse genetic transposon models have been used to study the genetic mechanisms of HCC, including hepatitis B viral-induced HCC. These animal models provide valuable genetic information and are important contributors to uncovering the factors involved in liver malignant transformation, invasion and metastasis. They could also be used to test potential therapeutic agents before proceeding to clinical trials in humans.