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Open Access Highly Accessed Review

Biomarkers for hepatocellular carcinoma: progression in early diagnosis, prognosis, and personalized therapy

Kai Zhu12, Zhi Dai12 and Jian Zhou123*

Author Affiliations

1 Liver Cancer Institute, Zhongshan Hospital, Fudan University, Shanghai, 200032, China

2 Key Laboratory of Carcinogenesis and Cancer Invasion, Fudan University, Ministry of Education, Shanghai, 200032, China

3 Shanghai Key Laboratory of Organ Transplantation, Zhongshan Hospital, Fudan University, Shanghai, 200032, China

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Biomarker Research 2013, 1:10  doi:10.1186/2050-7771-1-10

Published: 5 February 2013

Abstract

Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is one of the most common malignant tumors in the world. Currently, surgical resection, liver transplantation, and local ablation are considered curative therapeutic practices for HCC. The diagnosis of HCC without pathologic confirmation is achieved by analyzing serum alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) levels combined with imaging techniques, including ultrasonography, magnetic resonance imaging, and computerized tomography. Although progress has been made in the diagnosis and management of HCC, its prognosis remains dismal. Various new technologies have identified numerous novel biomarkers with potential diagnostic as well as prognostic value, including Dickkopf-1 and Golgi protein 73. These biomarkers not only help in the early diagnosis and prediction of prognosis, but also assist in identifying potential targets for therapeutic interventions. In this article, we provide an up-to-date review of the biomarkers that are used for early diagnosis, prognosis prediction, and personalized treatment of HCC.

Keywords:
Hepatocellular carcinoma; Early diagnosis; Prognosis; Biological markers