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World J Hepatol. Jan 27, 2010; 2(1): 16-20
Published online Jan 27, 2010. doi: 10.4254/wjh.v2.i1.16
Targeting c-Myc as a novel approach for hepatocellular carcinoma
Che-Pin Lin, Chien-Ru Liu, Chun-Nin Lee, Tze-Sian Chan, H Eugene Liu
Che-Pin Lin, Chien-Ru Liu, Department of Medicine, Taipei City Hospital, Ren-Ai Branch, Taipei 106, Taiwan
Chun-Nin Lee, Tze-Sian Chan, Department of Medicine, Wanfang Hospital, Taipei Medical University, Taipei 116, Taiwan
H Eugene Liu, Department of Medicine, Department of Laboratory Medicine, and Graduate Institute of Clinical Medicine, Taipei Medical University, Taipei 110, Taiwan
Author contributions: Lin CP and Liu CR contributed equally to this work; Both of them were responsible for manuscript writing; Lee CN and Chan TS were responsible for data collection and Liu HE for manuscript writing and editing.
Supported by the Grants from Taiwan Department of Health for the Center of Excellence for Clinical Trial and Research in Neuroscience (DOH99-TD-B-111-003)
Correspondence to: H Eugene Liu, MD, PhD, Graduate Institute of Clinical Medicine, Taipei Medical University, Taipei 110, Taiwan.
Telephone: +886-2-29307930-2548 Fax: +886-2-55583019
Received: August 8, 2009
Revised: January 8, 2010
Accepted: January 15, 2010
Published online: January 27, 2010

Hepatocelluar carcinoma (HCC) is the most lethal cancer in the world. Most HCC over-express c-Myc, which plays a critical role in regulating cellular growth, differentiation and apoptosis in both normal and neoplastic cells. c-Myc is among the most frequently overexpressed genes in human cancers. Overexpression of c-Myc in hepatic cells leads to development of hepatocellular carcinoma. Here, we review the current progress in understanding physiologic function and regulation of c-Myc as well as its role in hepatic carcinogenesis and discuss the association of c-Myc activation in chronic hepatitis B infection and the upregulation of HIF-1/VEGF. We also explore the possibility of treating HCC by inhibiting c-Myc and examine the pros and cons of such an approach. Although this strategy is currently not available in clinics, with recent advances in better drug design, pharmacokinetics and pharmacogenetics, inhibition of c-Myc might become a novel therapy for HCC in the future.

Keywords: Hepatocellular carcinoma, c-Myc, Novel therapy