Published online Jan 27, 2018. doi: 10.4254/wjh.v10.i1.155
Peer-review started: November 5, 2017
First decision: November 15, 2017
Revised: November 17, 2017
Accepted: December 5, 2017
Article in press: December 7, 2017
Published online: January 27, 2018
Core tip: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a high-fatality cancer with limited screening biomarkers and therapeutic options. It arises in the context of chronic liver disease, having accumulated epigenetic changes over time. The goal of this study was to perform an integrative network-based meta-analysis of all genome-wide DNA methylation data in HCC. Using bioinformatics tools, we identified the most important aberrantly methylated genes and associated pathways. G-protein receptor signaling was the most significantly associated with HCC based on differential methylation of involved genes, which is consistent with the implication of the Ras/Raf/MAPK and mTOR pathways. The identification of novel epigenetically modified genes such as HIST1H2AJ within known pathways suggests targeting of the epigenome as a potential therapeutic avenue for HCC.