Copyright ©The Author(s) 2024. Published by Baishideng Publishing Group Inc. All rights reserved.
World J Clin Oncol. Jan 24, 2024; 15(1): 145-158
Published online Jan 24, 2024. doi: 10.5306/wjco.v15.i1.145
What are the changes in the hotspots and frontiers of microRNAs in hepatocellular carcinoma over the past decade?
Lu Zhang, Zu-Yuan Chen, Xiao-Xian Wei, Jian-Di Li, Gang Chen
Lu Zhang, Zu-Yuan Chen, Xiao-Xian Wei, Jian-Di Li, Gang Chen, Department of Pathology, The First Affiliated Hospital of Guangxi Medical University, Nanning 530021, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, China
Author contributions: Zhang L and Chen G conceived and designed the study. Zhang L, Chen ZY, Wei XX and Li JD searched the publications from Web of Science and decided which paper to be included, analyzed the data and made all the graphs; Zhang L drafted the manuscript; Chen G revised the manuscript.
Supported by Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region Health Commission Self-Financed Scientific Research Project, No. Z20201174; Innovation Project of Guangxi Graduate Education, No. YCBZ2023110; Guangxi Higher Education Undergraduate Teaching Reform Project, No. 2022JGA146; Guangxi Educational Science Planning Key Project, No. 2022ZJY2791; and Guangxi Medical High-level Key Talents Training "139" Program (2020).
Conflict-of-interest statement: All the authors report no relevant conflicts of interest for this article.
PRISMA 2009 Checklist statement: The authors have read the PRISMA 2009 Checklist, and the manuscript was prepared and revised according to the PRISMA 2009 Checklist.
Open-Access: This article is an open-access article that was selected by an in-house editor and fully peer-reviewed by external reviewers. It is distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See:
Corresponding author: Gang Chen, PhD, Professor, Department of Pathology, The First Affiliated Hospital of Guangxi Medical University, No. 6 Shuangyong Road, Nanning 530021, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, China.
Received: October 22, 2023
Peer-review started: October 22, 2023
First decision: November 23, 2023
Revised: December 8, 2023
Accepted: December 28, 2023
Article in press: December 28, 2023
Published online: January 24, 2024
Research background

Over the past 10 years, studies have increasingly focused on the role of microRNAs (miRNAs) in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), generating significant scientific output. The accumulated knowledge needs to be systematically organized in order to improve research efficiency.

Research motivation

The purpose of this article is to make a comprehensive analysis of recent studies concerning miRNAs in HCC.

Research objectives

We aim to systematically analyze the research on miRNAs in HCC in the past decade. A comprehensive analysis of recent research concerning miRNAs in HCC development could provide researchers with a valuable reference for further studies.

Research methods

This study collected relevant publications from the Web of Science Core Collection database ( with a specific search strategy and the limited time frame was from 2013 to 2022. Bibliometrix software, VOSviewer software and CiteSpace software were used to visually analyze the distribution by time, countries, institutions, journals, and authors, as well as the keywords, burst keywords and thematic map.

Research results

A total of 9426 publications on this topic were found worldwide. According to the keywords analysis, we found that the studies of miRNAs focused on their expression level, effects, and mechanisms on the biological behaviour of HCC. Keywords bursting analysis showed that in the early years (2013–2017), “microRNA expression”, “gene expression”, “expression profile”, “functional polymorphism”, “circulating microRNA”, “susceptibility” and “mir 21” started to attract attention. In the latest phase (2018–2022), the hot topics turned to “sorafenib resistance”, “tumor microenvironment” and so on.

Research conclusions

This study provides a comprehensive overview of the role of miRNAs in HCC development based on bibliometric analysis. The hotspots in this field focus on miRNAs expression level, effects, and mechanisms on the biological behavior of HCC. The frontiers turned to sorafenib resistance, tumor microenvironment and so on.

Research perspectives

Future research should focus on the application value of miRNAs as biomarkers in predicting clinical treatment outcomes and prognosis in HCC patients.