Role of braf in hepatocellular carcinoma: A rationale for future targeted cancer therapies

Antonio Gnoni, Antonella Licchetta, Riccardo Memeo, Antonella Argentiero, Antonio G. Solimando, Vito Longo, Sabina Delcuratolo, Oronzo Brunetti

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The few therapeutic strategies for advance hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) on poor knowledge of its biology. For several years, sorafenib, a tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKI) inhibitor, has been the approved treatment option, to date, for advanced HCC patients. Its activity is the inhibition of the retrovirus-associated DNA sequences protein (RAS)/Rapidly Accelerated Fibrosarcoma protein (RAF)/mitogen-activated and extracellular-signal regulated kinase (MEK)/extracellular-signal regulated kinases (ERK) signaling pathway. However, the efficacy of sorafenib is limited by the development of drug resistance, and the major neuronal isoform of RAF, BRAF and MEK pathways play a critical and central role in HCC escape from TKIs activity. Advanced HCC patients with a BRAF mutation display a multifocal and/or more aggressive behavior with resistance to TKI. Moreover, also long non-coding RNA (lnc-RNA) have been studied in epigenetic studies for BRAF aggressiveness in HCC. So far, lnc-RNA of BRAF could be another mechanism of cancer proliferation and TKI escape in HCC and the inhibition could become a possible strategy treatment for HCC. Moreover, recent preclinical studies and clinical trials evidence that combined treatments, involving alternative pathways, have an important role of therapy for HCC and they could bypass resistance to the following TKIs: MEK, ERKs/ribosomal protein S6 kinase 2 (RSK2), and phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR). These initial data must be confirmed in clinical studies, which are currently ongoing. Translational research discoveries could create new strategies of targeted therapy combinations, including BRAF pathway, and they could eventually bring light in new treatment of HCC.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberE754
JournalMedicina (Lithuania)
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019


  • BRAF
  • Hepatocellular carcinoma
  • Liver microenvironment
  • MAPK pathway
  • MEK
  • Sorafenib
  • TKI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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