Published online Dec 21, 2013. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v19.i47.8880
Revised: November 1, 2013
Accepted: November 12, 2013
Published online: December 21, 2013
Core tip: In this review, we summarize the recent findings on the somatic mtDNA alterations identified in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and their relationships with the clinicopathological features of HCC. We suggest that somatic mtDNA mutations and a decrease in the mtDNA copy number are common events in HCC and that a mitochondrial dysfunction-activated signaling cascade may play an important role in the progression of HCC. Elucidation of the retrograde signaling pathways in HCC and the quest for strategies to block some of these pathways will be instrumental for the development of novel treatments for this and other malignancies.