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Frontiers of Medicine >> 2008, Volume 2, Issue 1 doi: 10.1007/s11684-008-0001-6

Stem cell research in hepatocellular carcinoma

Department of Hepatobiliary Surgery, the Affiliated Hospital of Guiyang Medical College

Available online: 2008-03-05

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The traditional view that adult human liver tumors, mainly hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), arise from mature cell types has been challenged in recent decades. The results of several studies suggest that HCC can be derived from liver stem cells. There are four levels of cells in the liver stem cell lineage: hepatocytes, hepatic stem cells/oval cells, bone marrow stem cells and hepato-pancreas stem cells. However, whether HCC is resulted from the differentiation block of stem cells and, moreover, which liver stem cell lineage is the source cell of hepatocarcinogenesis remain controversial. In this review, we focus on the current status of liver stem cell research and their roles in carcinogenesis of HCC, in order to explore new approaches for stem cell therapy of HCC.

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