Alpha-fetoprotein Promotes the Malignant Phenotype of Hepatocellular Carcinoma Cells: The Drugs Resistance Origination

Xue Shan ( Hainan Provincial Key Laboratory of Carcinogenesis and Intervention, Hainan Medical College, 3 Xueyuan Road, Longhua District, Haikou 571199, Hainan, P.R China. )

Minni Zhang ( Hainan Provincial Key Laboratory of Carcinogenesis and Intervention, Hainan Medical College, 3 Xueyuan Road, Longhua District, Haikou 571199, Hainan, P.R China. )

Haifeng Lin ( Department of Medical Oncology, Second Affiliated Hospital, Hainan Medical College, Haikou 570311, Hainan, P.R China. )

Mingyue Zhu ( Hainan Provincial Key Laboratory of Carcinogenesis and Intervention, Hainan Medical College, 3 Xueyuan Road, Longhua District, Haikou 571199, Hainan, P.R China. )

Mengsen Li ( Hainan Provincial Key Laboratory of Carcinogenesis and Intervention, Hainan Medical College, 3 Xueyuan Road, Longhua District, Haikou 571199, Hainan, P.R China; Department of Medical Oncology, Second Affiliated Hospital, Hainan Medical College, Haikou 570311, Hainan, P.R China; Institution of Tumour, Hainan Medical College, Haikou 570102, Hainan, P.R China. )


Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) has a high increase, recurrence and mortality rate, but the signs of pathogenesis are not clear. At the time of diagnosis, most patients were advanced stage and missed the optimal period of surgical resection. Pharmacotherapy is the primary choice in this period, but the efficacy of anticancer drugs is poor and the patient survival rate is low. Drugs resistance is the primary cause of the poor efficacy of anticancer drugs. HCC cells have innate drugs resistance and acquired drugs resistance, and understanding the drugs resistance mechanism of HCC cells has an important help in the treatment of HCC. Alpha fetoprotein (AFP) is a tumor-associated protein, about 70% high expression of AFP in HCC patients, and AFP has a trait to induce malignant phenotype, stimulate cancer cells with a highly aggressive, antiapoptotic, proliferated phenotype, etc. AFP can also promote HCC drugs resistance through regulating the transduction of signaling pathways and ultimately lead to drugs resistance. This review analyze AFP influences the origination of cancer stem cells, promotes malignant phenotype of cancer cells, and the mechanism that promote HCC cells drugs resistance.


Hepatocellular carcinoma; Alpha fetoprotein(AFP); Drugs resistance; Cancer stem cells; Malignant phenotype

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