Targeted agents and systemic therapy in hepatocellular carcinoma
Molecular Targeted Therapy
Cytotoxic chemotherapy, hormonal agents, and immunotherapy have been tested in hepatocellular cancer (HCC) with marginal efficacy to date. Recent insights into the molecular pathogenesis of HCC have identified several aberrant signaling pathways that have served as targets for novel therapeutic agents. These discoveries have been translated into the clinical realm with the use of the antiangiogenic and the Raf kinase inhibitor, sorafenib, and have revealed the potential of targeted agents to produce clinically meaningful survival benefits in patients with advanced HCC. Efforts continue in the quest to improve the outcome of HCC patients through the development and evaluation of other targeted agents, and to better understand the interactions between the underlying disease biology and response to therapy. Several pathways are now implicated in hepatocarcinogenesis and agents that target these pathways continue to be developed.