Iron and Hepatic Carcinogenesis
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Iron is an essential co-factor for life; however, a physiologically optimal balance is critical. Too much or too little iron can have detrimental effects on human health. In this article, we explore the relationships between iron and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Iron can act as a modulating co-factor in a range of chronic liver diseases and can accelerate the development of liver injury, fibrosis, cirrhosis, and ultimately HCC. Iron can, however, also act as a sole factor in the causation of liver cirrhosis and HCC in individuals with hereditary hemochromatosis (HH). We overview the regulation of normal iron metabolism and the role of iron in wound healing and associated cell types as well as in pathophysiologies that predispose to HCC. We review how these injury pro- cesses are inextricably linked, providing a mechanistic basis for understanding how iron and hepatic injury potentially result in HCC.
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