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BioMed Research International
Volume 2013, Article ID 290575, 9 pages
Review Article

Progesterone and Related Compounds in Hepatocellular Carcinoma: Basic and Clinical Aspects

1Department of Medical Laboratory Sciences and Biotechnology, Fooyin University, Kaohsiung 83102, Taiwan
2Cancer Center and Division of General & Gastroenterological Surgery, Department of Surgery, Kaohsiung Medical University Hospital, Kaohsiung 80756, Taiwan
3Department of Pathology, Kaohsiung Armed Forces General Hospital, Kaohsiung 80284, Taiwan
4Department of Surgery, Faculty of Medicine, College of Medicine, Kaohsiung Medical University, Kaohsiung 80756, Taiwan
5Division of Hepato-Pancreatico-Biliary Surgery, Kaohsiung Medical University Hospital, Kaohsiung 80756, Taiwan

Received 20 July 2012; Revised 20 December 2012; Accepted 26 December 2012

Academic Editor: Fátima Regina Mena Barreto Silva

Copyright © 2013 Yao-Tsung Yeh et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Primary liver cancer is the fifth most common cancer worldwide and the third most common cause of cancer mortality. Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) accounts for 85% to 90% of primary liver cancers. Major risk factors for HCC include infection with HBV or HCV, alcoholic liver disease, and most probably nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. In general, men are two to four times more often associated with HCC than women. It can be suggested that sex hormones including progesterone may play some roles in HCC. Rather, very limited information discusses its potential involvement in HCC. This paper thus collects some recent studies of the potential involvement of progesterone and related compounds in HCC from basic and clinical aspects. In addition, two synthetic progestins, megestrol acetate (MA) and medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA), will be discussed thoroughly. It is noted that progesterone can also serve as the precursor for androgens and estrogens produced by the gonadal and adrenal cortical tissues, while men have a higher incidence of HCC than women might be due to the stimulatory effects of androgen and the protective effects of estrogen. Eventually, this paper suggests a new insight on the associations of progesterone and related compounds with HCC development and treatment.