• clinicopathological significance;
  • focal adhesion proteins;
  • hepatocellular carcinoma;
  • signaling pathways


Focal adhesions are structural links between the extracellular matrix and actin cytoskeleton. They are important sites where dynamic alterations of proteins in the focal contacts are involved during cell movement. Focal adhesions are composed of diverse molecules, for instance, receptors, structural proteins, adaptors, GTPase, kinases and phosphatases. These molecules play critical roles in normal physiological events such as cellular adhesion, movement, cytoskeletal structure and intracellular signaling pathways. In cancers, aberrant expression and altered functions of focal adhesion proteins contribute to adverse tumor behavior. It is evident that these proteins do not function alone, but rather associate and work together in the process of tumor development and cancer metastasis. Focal adhesion proteins have been shown to play critical roles in hepatocellular carcinoma. Understanding the molecular interactions and mechanisms of the interconnected focal adhesion proteins is of particular importance in understanding mechanisms underlying hepatocellular carcinoma progression and development of potential effective treatment.