, Volume 4, Issue 6, pp 464-470

Prevention of liver cancer

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Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is among the most prevalent and deadly cancers worldwide. Prominent risk factors for HCC include viral hepatitis infection; dietary exposure to hepatotoxic contaminants such as aflatoxins; alcoholism; smoking; and male gender. This review highlights ongoing efforts in HCC prevention. Strategies include vaccination against, and treatment of, viral hepatitis infection. In addition to interferon α, an acyclic retinoid (all-trans-3,7,11, 15-tetramethyl-2,4,6,10,14-hexadecapentanoic acid), glycyrrhizin and ginseng are currently under clinical investigation for HCC prevention in Japanese hepatitis C patients. Several recent clinical studies in a Chinese region of pervasive aflatoxin contamination also support the approach of favorably altering aflatoxin metabolism and excretion using the chemopreventive agents oltipraz or chlorophyllin. Agents exhibiting chemopreventive efficacy in preclinical HCC models include vitamins A, D, and E, herbal extracts, a 5α-reductase inhibitor, green tea, and D-limonene. Efforts to elucidate the molecular lesions and processes underlying HCC development have identified several putative molecular targets for preventive interventions. These include genes and gene products controlling viral replication, carcinogen metabolism, signal transduction, cell-cycle arrest, apoptosis, proliferation, and oxidative stress.