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Frontiers of Medicine >> 2022, Volume 16, Issue 4 doi: 10.1007/s11684-022-0928-z

Bone metastasis of hepatocellular carcinoma: facts and hopes from clinical and translational perspectives

Available online:2022-07-20

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Patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and bone metastasis (BM) suffer from greatly reduced life quality and a dismal prognosis. However, BM in HCC has long been overlooked possibly due to its relatively low prevalence in previous decades. To date, no consensus or guidelines have been reached or formulated for the prevention and management of HCC BM. Our narrative review manifests the increasing incidence of HCC BM to sound the alarm for additional attention. The risk factors, diagnosis, prognosis, and therapeutic approaches of HCC BM are detailed to provide a panoramic view of this disease to clinicians and specialists. We further delineate an informative cancer bone metastatic cascade based on evidence from recent studies and point out the main factors responsible for the tumor-associated disruption of bone homeostasis and the formation of skeletal cancer lesions. We also present the advances in the pathological and molecular mechanisms of HCC BM to shed light on translational opportunities. Dilemmas and challenges in the treatment and investigation of HCC BM are outlined and discussed to encourage further endeavors in the exploration of underlying pathogenic and molecular mechanisms, as well as the development of novel effective therapies for HCC patients with BM.

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