Copyright ©The Author(s) 2015. Published by Baishideng Publishing Group Inc. All rights reserved.
World J Hepatol. Feb 27, 2015; 7(2): 165-176
Published online Feb 27, 2015. doi: 10.4254/wjh.v7.i2.165
Targeting the tumor stroma in hepatocellular carcinoma
Femke Heindryckx, Pär Gerwins
Femke Heindryckx, Pär Gerwins, Department of Medical Biochemistry and Microbiology, Biomedical Research Center, Uppsala University, SE-75123 Uppsala, Sweden
Author contributions: Both authors contributed to this work.
Open-Access: This article is an open-access article which was selected by an in-house editor and fully peer-reviewed by external reviewers. It is distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (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:
Correspondence to: Femke Heindryckx, PhD, Department of Medical Biochemistry and Microbiology, Uppsala University, Husargatan 3, PO Box 582, SE-75123 Uppsala, Sweden.
Telephone: +46-18-4714442
Received: July 15, 2014
Peer-review started: July 16, 2014
First decision: August 28, 2014
Revised: September 30, 2014
Accepted: November 17, 2014
Article in press: November 19, 2014
Published online: February 27, 2015
Core Tip

Core tip: Hepatocellular carcinoma is a primary liver tumor that usually develops in a background of chronic liver disease and fibrosis. It is the underlying chronic inflammation that creates an environment that not only causes but also enhances the formation and growth of tumors. The stromal compartment-including hepatic stellate cells, macrophages and endothelial cells-actively contribute to tumorigenesis, while the tumor itself influences these cells to create a background that is beneficial for tumor growth. This review focuses on the interplay between stroma and tumor cells, as well as therapeutic strategies that aim to target these complex interactions.