BACKGROUND: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) ranks many tasks in clinical oncology due to possibly developing a general tumor in men and, usually lead to malignant to death within years. Researches had reported about major factors for being HCC was male sex and HCC associated with cirrhosis in childhood was found more common in males than females. In certain mouse strains as studied, breeding with testosterone significantly increases the development of HCC. Furthermore, castration of male mice diminished the frequency of the development of liver tumors. Meanwhile male hepatitis B virus transgenic mice have a greater occurrence of HCC than females. METHODS: We apply degenerate priming PCR to observe the expression of various steroid receptors in livers. Yeast-two hybrid screening to search a novel RNA fragment helps to find a new full-length gene by RACE experiment. RT-PCR is applied to detect various expressions in tissues and cell lines. In situ hybridization detects DNA in Chromosome mapping. GFP-constructs transfection proves the gene localization in cells. Immunoprecipitation pulldown assay verifies protein interaction. Gene transfection followed with luciferase assay demonstrates the interaction of genes within cellular signaling. Genomic alignment analysis for observing sequences data perform from NCBI database website (http://www.ncbi.nim.nih.gov/genebank/). RESULTS: The androgen receptor (AR) expression level is found at the highest level among the steroid receptors families detected in liver tumors. By yeast-two hybrid screening, we cloned an Androgen Receptor Complex Associated Protein (ARCAP), of 95 Kd in molecular weight and its cDNA. ARCAP locates at Chromosome 1. Our findings indicate ARCAP is highly expressed in hepatoma cell lines and liver tumors and their adjacent tumors as observed. Yeast two-hybrid assay and in vitro immunoprecipitation assays demonstrated an interaction between AR and ARCAP. CONCLUSION: We aim to search for different types and levels of steroid receptors expressed within human HCCs and in the adjacent liver tissues. To verify possible molecular mechanisms by which AR might affect hepatoma cells, we had characterized a novel protein ARCAP which functions as a coregulator to interact with AR within liver. The ligand-dependent AR with its cofactor, ARCAP, can induce a signal cascade by transactivation.