Hepatitis C virus core protein modulates several signaling pathways involved in hepatocellular carcinoma.World J Gastroenterol 2019; 25(1):42-58WJ
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the fifth most common cancer, and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection plays a major role in HCC development. The molecular mechanisms by which HCV infection leads to HCC are varied. HCV core protein is an important risk factor in HCV-associated liver pathogenesis and can modulate several signaling pathways involved in cell cycle regulation, cell growth promotion, cell proliferation, apoptosis, oxidative stress and lipid metabolism. The dysregulation of signaling pathways such as transforming growth factor β (TGF-β), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), Wnt/β-catenin (WNT), cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor α (PPARα) by HCV core protein is implicated in the development of HCC. Therefore, it has been suggested that this protein be considered a favorable target for further studies in the development of HCC. In addition, considering the axial role of these signaling pathways in HCC, they are considered druggable targets for cancer therapy. Therefore, using strategies to limit the dysregulation effects of core protein on these signaling pathways seems necessary to prevent HCV-related HCC.