Published online Jan 27, 2010. doi: 10.4254/wjh.v2.i1.16
Revised: January 8, 2010
Accepted: January 15, 2010
Published online: January 27, 2010
Hepatocelluar carcinoma (HCC) is the most lethal cancer in the world. Most HCC over-express c-Myc, which plays a critical role in regulating cellular growth, differentiation and apoptosis in both normal and neoplastic cells. c-Myc is among the most frequently overexpressed genes in human cancers. Overexpression of c-Myc in hepatic cells leads to development of hepatocellular carcinoma. Here, we review the current progress in understanding physiologic function and regulation of c-Myc as well as its role in hepatic carcinogenesis and discuss the association of c-Myc activation in chronic hepatitis B infection and the upregulation of HIF-1/VEGF. We also explore the possibility of treating HCC by inhibiting c-Myc and examine the pros and cons of such an approach. Although this strategy is currently not available in clinics, with recent advances in better drug design, pharmacokinetics and pharmacogenetics, inhibition of c-Myc might become a novel therapy for HCC in the future.