J Cancer 2021; 12(21):6411-6421. doi:10.7150/jca.60102 This issue
Center for Drug Research, Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Butenandtstr. 5-13, 81377 Munich, Germany.
HCC is one of the leading causes of cancer related death worldwide and comprises about 90% of the cases of primary liver cancer. It is generally accompanied by chronic liver fibrosis characterised by deposition of collagen fibres, which, in turn, causes enhanced stiffness of the liver tissue. Changes of tissue stiffness give rise to alterations of signalling pathways that are associated to mechanical properties of the cells and the extracellular matrix, and that can be subsumed as “mechano-signaling pathways”, like, e.g., the YAP/TAZ pathway, or the SRF pathway. Stiffness of the liver tissue modulates mechanical regulation of many genes involved in HCC progression. However, mechano-signaling is still rather underrepresented in our concepts of cancer in comparison to “classical” biochemical signalling pathways. This review aims to give an overview of various stiffness induced mechano-biological aspects of HCC.
Keywords: Hepatocellular carcinoma, HCC, mechano-signaling, extracellular matrix, ECM, stiffness