Published online Feb 27, 2011. doi: 10.4254/wjh.v3.i2.38
Revised: December 13, 2010
Accepted: December 20, 2010
Published online: February 27, 2011
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) has a poor prognosis and systemic chemotherapies have disappointing results. The increasing knowledge of the molecular biology of HCC has resulted in novel targets, with the vascular endothelial growth factor and epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)-related pathways being of special interest. New blood vessel formation (angiogenesis) is essential for the growth of solid tumors. Anti-angiogenic strategies have become an important therapeutic modality for solid tumors. Several agents targeting angiogenesis-related pathways have entered clinical trials or have been already approved for the treatment of solid tumors. These include monoclonal antibodies, receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitors and immunomodulatory drugs. HCC is a highly vascular tumor, and angiogenesis is believed to play an important role in its development and progression. This review summarizes recent advances in the basic understanding of the role of angiogenesis in HCC as well as clinical trials with novel therapeutic approaches targeting angiogenesis and EGFR-related pathways.