The TGF-β signaling pathway as a pharmacological target in hepatocellular carcinoma

Antonio Mazzocca, Salvatore Antonaci, Gianluigi Giannelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a cancer that usually develops on a liver already compromised by cirrhosis. Study of the underlying molecular mechanisms is essential so as to improve therapeutic strategies and to develop new pharmacological agents that may prevent or improve the course of this malignancy. Transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β) intervenes in the process of hepatic fibrogenesis and cirrhosis, two pathogenic preconditions for the formation and progression of HCC [1] [2]. In addition, TGF-β plays a crucial role in the molecular pathogenesis of HCC and may, therefore, prove to be a promising drug target. We and other authors have recently demonstrated that inhibition of the TGFβ signaling pathway results in a synergistic downstream action with an inhibitory effect on the progression of HCC. Several TGF-β inhibitors have recently been developed, most of which are still in a preclinical phase, but they may soon be available for testing in patients with HCC. However, well-designed clinical trials will be needed to evaluate the effectiveness of these new agents prior to routine use in the clinic. Aim of this article is to make a brief TGF-β signaling pathway in HCC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4148-4154
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent Pharmaceutical Design
Issue number27
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • Hepatocellular carcinoma
  • Inhibitors of the TGF-β
  • Kinase receptor
  • Mechanism-based drugs
  • Stroma-tumor interactions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Drug Discovery
  • Pharmacology


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