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BioMed Research International
Volume 2016, Article ID 3956485, 13 pages
Review Article

Hepatoepigenetic Alterations in Viral and Nonviral-Induced Hepatocellular Carcinoma

1Division of Hepatology and Liver Research, Department of Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, Groote Schuur Hospital, Observatory 7925, Western Cape, South Africa
2MRC Human Immunology Unit, Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, University of Oxford, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, UK

Received 2 October 2016; Accepted 30 November 2016

Academic Editor: Jeroen T. Buijs

Copyright © 2016 Mankgopo M. Kgatle 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.


Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a major public health concern and one of the leading causes of tumour-related deaths worldwide. Extensive evidence endorses that HCC is a multifactorial disease characterised by hepatic cirrhosis mostly associated with chronic inflammation and hepatitis B/C viral infections. Interaction of viral products with the host cell machinery may lead to increased frequency of genetic and epigenetic aberrations that cause harmful alterations in gene transcription. This may provide a progressive selective advantage for neoplastic transformation of hepatocytes associated with phenotypic heterogeneity of intratumour HCC cells, thus posing even more challenges in HCC treatment development. Epigenetic aberrations involving DNA methylation, histone modifications, and noncoding miRNA dysregulation have been shown to be intimately linked with and play a critical role in tumour initiation, progression, and metastases. The current review focuses on the aberrant hepatoepigenetics events that play important roles in hepatocarcinogenesis and their utilities in the development of HCC therapy.