Stem cell origins and animal models of hepatocellular carcinoma

Raj Aravalli, Clifford J Steer, M. Behnan Sahin, Erik N.K. Cressman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a common malignant tumor that almost always occurs within a preexisting background of chronic liver disease and cirrhosis. Currently, medical therapy is not effective in treating most HCC, and the only hope of cure is either resection or liver transplantation. A small minority of patients is eligible for these therapies, which entail major morbidity at the very least. In spite of immense scientific advances during the past 3 decades, patient survival has improved very little. In order to reduce morbidity and mortality from HCC, improvements in early diagnosis and development of novel local and systemic therapies for advanced disease are essential, in addition to efforts geared towards primary prevention. Studies with experimental animal models that closely mimic human disease are very valuable in understanding physiological, cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying the disease. Furthermore, appropriate animal models have the potential to increase our understanding of the effects of image-guided minimally invasive therapies and thereby help to improve such therapies. In this review, we examine the evidence for stem cell origins of such tumors, critically evaluate existing models and reflect on how to develop new models for minimally invasive, image-guided treatment of HCC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1241-1250
Number of pages10
JournalDigestive Diseases and Sciences
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2010


  • Animal model
  • Cancer
  • Hepatocellular carcinoma
  • Stem cell


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