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Lectin of Concanavalin A as an anti-hepatoma therapeutic agent

DOI: 10.1186/1423-0127-16-10

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Liver cancer is the fifth most important cancer worldwide, and is the third most common cause of cancer mortality because of the very poor prognosis [1]. Most liver cancers are hepatocellular carcinomas (HCC) which have unique epidemiologic features with dynamic temporal trends, variations in different geographic regions, racial and ethnic group, sex, and risk factors. The highest incidence rates are in Africa and eastern Asia. China alone accounts for more than 50% of the world's cases. Incidence is low in most developed countries, except for Japan, while a moderately increased incidence occurs in southern European countries. The major risk factors for HCC are chronic infection with the hepatitis B (HBV) and C (HCV) virus, although aflatoxins are thought to be an environmental factor in tropical areas due to the contamination of food with fungus. In Asia, the dominant risk factor is chronic HBV infection that is largely acquired by maternal-child transmission. However, in Japan or in Western countries, the dominant hepatitis virus is HCV [2,3]. Individuals who are chronic carriers of HBV have a greater than 100-fold increased relative risk of developing a tumor. The universal immunization of infants with the HBsAg vaccine not only decreases the HBV carrier rate, but also reduces the incidence and mortality rate from HCC in Taiwanese children [4]. Chronic active hepatitis is recognized as the major risk factor for HCC, and is accompanied by liver cell necrosis, inflammation, cytokine abnormal synthesis and fibrosis. In Asia, America and Europe, 90% of HCC cases are associated with cirrhosis. Three steps (hepatitis, cirrhosis, hepatocarcinogenesis) are involved in the evolution of HCC tumor formation post HBV/HCV chronic infection [5].The most common condition associated with hepatocarcinogenesis is cirrhosis, which develops after a latency of 20–40 years of chronic liver disease. HCC risk remains low during chronic liver disease but exponentially increases at the ci


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