Involvement of inflammation and its related microRNAs in hepatocellular carcinoma

Ke Jin _, Tong Li, Gonzalo Sánchez-Duffhues, Fangfang Zhou and Long Zhang

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:22145-22165. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.13530

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Ke Jin1, Tong Li4, Gonzalo Sánchez-Duffhues3, Fangfang Zhou2,3, Long Zhang1,3

1Life Sciences Institute and Innovation Center for Cell Signaling Network, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310058, PR China

2Institutes of Biology and Medical Science, Soochow University, Suzhou 215123, PR China

3Department of Molecular Cell Biology, Cancer Genomics Centre and Centre for Biomedical Genetics, Leiden University Medical Center, 2300 RC Leiden, The Netherlands

4Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology, College of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310058, PR China

Correspondence to:

Ke Jin, email: [email protected]

Long Zhang, email: [email protected]

Fangfang Zhou, email: [email protected]

Keywords: inflammation, epithelial-mesenchymal transition, cancer stem cells, cell signaling, microRNAs

Received: May 09, 2016     Accepted: November 02, 2016     Published: November 23, 2016


Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the fifth most commonly diagnosed type of cancer. The tumor inflammatory microenvironment regulates almost every step towards liver tumorigenesis and subsequent progression, and regulation of the inflammation-related signaling pathways, cytokines, chemokines and non-coding RNAs influences the proliferation, migration and metastasis of liver tumor cells. Inflammation fine-tunes the cancer microenvironment to favor epithelial-mesenchymal transition, in which cancer stem cells maintain tumorigenic potential. Emerging evidence points to inflammation-related microRNAs as crucial molecules to integrate the complex cellular and molecular crosstalk during HCC progression. Thus understanding the mechanisms by which inflammation regulates microRNAs might provide novel and admissible strategies for preventing, diagnosing and treating HCC. In this review, we will update three hypotheses of hepatocarcinogenesis and elaborate the most predominant inflammation signaling pathways, i.e. IL-6/STAT3 and NF-κB. We also try to summarize the crucial tumor-promoting and tumor-suppressing microRNAs and detail how they regulate HCC initiation and progression and collaborate with other critical modulators in this review.

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