Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the most common type of liver cancer, arising from neoplastic transformation of hepatocytes or liver precursor/stem cells. HCC is often associated with pre-existing chronic liver pathologies of different origin (mainly subsequent to HBV and HCV infections), such as fibrosis or cirrhosis. Current therapies are essentially still ineffective, due both to the tumor heterogeneity and the frequent late diagnosis, making necessary the creation of new therapeutic strategies to inhibit tumor onset and progression and improve the survival of patients. A promising strategy for treatment of HCC is the targeted molecular therapy based on the restoration of tumor suppressor proteins lost during neoplastic transformation. In particular, the delivery of master genes of epithelial/hepatocyte differentiation, able to trigger an extensive reprogramming of gene expression, could allow the induction of an efficient antitumor response through the simultaneous adjustment of multiple genetic/epigenetic alterations contributing to tumor development. Here, we report recent literature data supporting the use of members of the liver enriched transcription factor (LETF) family, in particular HNF4α, as tools for gene therapy of HCC.
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