Small molecule inhibitors for hepatocellular carcinoma: advances and challenges


  • M.A. Kamal
  • Y.M. Mandour
  • M.K. Abd El-Aziz
  • U. Stein
  • H.M. El Tayebi


  • Molecules


  • Molecules 27 (17): 5537


  • According to data provided by World Health Organization, hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the sixth most common cause of deaths due to cancer worldwide. Tremendous progress has been achieved over the last 10 years developing novel agents for HCC treatment, including small-molecule kinase inhibitors. Several small molecule inhibitors currently form the core of HCC treatment due to their versatility since they would be more easily absorbed and have higher oral bioavailability, thus easier to formulate and administer to patients. In addition, they can be altered structurally to have greater volumes of distribution, allowing them to block extravascular molecular targets and to accumulate in a high concentration in the tumor microenvironment. Moreover, they can be designed to have shortened half-lives to control for immune-related adverse events. Most importantly, they would spare patients, healthcare institutions, and society as a whole from the burden of high drug costs. The present review provides an overview of the pharmaceutical compounds that are licensed for HCC treatment and other emerging compounds that are still investigated in preclinical and clinical trials. These molecules are targeting different molecular targets and pathways that are proven to be involved in the pathogenesis of the disease.