Published online Jan 7, 2016. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v22.i1.379
Peer-review started: May 31, 2015
First decision: July 14, 2015
Revised: September 14, 2015
Accepted: November 9, 2015
Article in press: November 9, 2015
Published online: January 7, 2016
Core tip: Proteoglycans are molecules that contain at least one glycosaminoglycan chain and are primarily found on the cell surface and in the extracellular matrix, where they serve as structural components. In addition, their glycosaminoglycan chains interact with numerous regulatory molecules, thus potentially influencing a myriad of cellular processes, including those linked with cancer development. For example, they can support or inhibit signaling of growth factors, cytokines, and hormones. This article reviews current data demonstrating the versatile role of proteoglycans in the development, maintenance, and progression of liver cancer.