Hepatokines and adipokines in NASH-related hepatocellular carcinoma
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Abstract The incidence of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is increasing in industrialised societies; this is likely secondary to the increasing burden of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), its progressive form non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), and the metabolic syndrome. Cumulative studies suggest that NAFLD-related HCC may also develop in non-cirrhotic livers. However, prognosis and survival do not differ between NAFLD- or virus-associated HCC. Thus, research has increasingly focused on NAFLD-related risk factors to better understand the biology of hepatocarcinogenesis and to develop new diagnostic, preventive, and therapeutic strategies. One important aspect thereof is the role of hepatokines and adipokines in NAFLD/NASH-related HCC. In this review, we compile current data supporting the use of hepatokines and adipokines as potential markers of disease progression in NAFLD or as early markers of NAFLD-related HCC. While much work must be done to elucidate the mechanisms and interactions underlying alterations to hepatokines and adipokines, current data support the possible utility of these factors - in particular, angiopoietin-like proteins, fibroblast growth factors, and apelin - for detection or even as therapeutic targets in NAFLD-related HCC. Keywords: Adipokines; Cirrhosis; Hepatokines; Liver; NAFLD; NASH; Obesity.
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