The role of circulating microRNA in hepatocellular carcinoma Academic Article uri icon


  • Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a rapidly progressing disease that exerts a huge burden on patients and health care systems. Rapid progression and difficulty in detecting early disease are major obstacles in offering potentially curative treatments. Besides the lack of effective chemo- or immunotherapy for advanced disease, there are currently no reliable tumor markers or imaging technologies that can accurately diagnose early HCC or predict disease progression. Since the discovery of microRNA (miRNA) and its involvement in hepatocarcinogenesis, the literature describes their usefulness as potential new biomarkers and treatment targets. Some of these miRNAs can also be found in the systemic circulation. With advances in detection and sequencing technologies, an increasing amount of data demonstrate the possibility of using circulating miRNAs as biomarkers to improve our current management of HCC in a less-invasive manner. This paper will review circulating miRNAs with a known function in HCC, describing their role and function in tumorigenesis. This review discusses their potential use as biomarkers in conjunction with emerging treatments in the diagnosis and targeting of this disease.

publication date

  • 2015