[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Oct4 and Nanog are key regulatory genes that maintain the pluripotency and self-renewal properties of embryonic stem cells. We previously reported that the two stemness markers were tightly associated with cancer progression and poor outcomes of hepatocellular carcinoma. In this study, we demonstrate that coexpression of Oct4/Nanog modulates activation of signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (Stat3), an oncogenic transcription factor that is activated in many human malignancies including hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), as well as the expression of Snail, a key regulator implicated in epithelial-mesenchymal transition and tumor metastasis.
Oct4 and Nanog were ectopic expressed in MHCC97-L cell lines via lentiviral gene transfection. The stemness characteristics including self-renewal, proliferation, chemoresistance, and tumorigenicity were assessed. The effect of coexpression of Oct4 and Nanog on epithelial-mesenchymal transition change, and the underlying molecular signaling was investigated.
Ectopic coexpression of Oct4 and Nanog empowered MHCC97-L cells with cancer stem cell (CSC) properties, including self-renewal, extensive proliferation, drug resistance, and high tumorigenic capacity. Significantly, Oct4 and Nanog encouraged epithelial-mesenchymal transition change contributing to tumor migration, invasion/metastasis in vitro and in vivo. Following molecular mechanism investigation indicated Oct4/Nanog-regulated epithelial-mesenchymal transition change through Stat3-dependent Snail activation. Moreover, silencing Stat3 abrogates Oct4/Nanog-mediated epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) change and invasion/metastasis in HCC.
We delineate Oct4 and Nanog initiate stem cell characteristics in hepatocellular carcinoma and promote epithelial-mesenchymal transition through activation of Stat3/Snail signaling. Our findings propose Stat3/Snail pathway as a novel therapeutic target for the treatment of progression and metastasis of HCC with CSC-like signatures and epithelial-mesenchymal transition phenotype.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: There is increasing and consistent evidence concerning the association of systemic inflammation and poor outcome in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The aim of this study was to identify a superior inflammation-based prognostic scoring system for patients with HCC undergoing hepatectomy.We analyzed two independent cohorts of a total of 723 patients with HCC who underwent radical surgery between 2010 and 2012. The prognostic value of the inflammation scores, including the Glasgow Prognostic Score (GPS), modified GPS (mGPS), neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio, platelet lymphocyte ratio, prognostic index, and prognostic nutritional index, as well as the Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer and Cancer of the Liver Italian Program staging systems was analyzed in a test cohort of 367 patients and validated in a validation cohort of 356 patients.A high score with the mGPS was associated with large tumor size, vascular invasion, and advanced clinical stage. Multivariate analysis showed that the mGPS was independently associated with overall survival and disease-free survival, and had a higher area under the curve value in comparison with other inflammation-based scores.The results of this study demonstrated that the mGPS is an independent marker of poor prognosis in patients with resectable HCC and is superior to other inflammation-based scores.
Medicine 09/2015; 94(36):e1486. DOI:10.1097/MD.0000000000001486 · 5.72 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Previous studies predicted the prognosis of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) mainly based on tumor-related factors, while the impacts of hepatitis B virus (HBV)-related factors are usually ignored. The objective of this exploratory study is to investigate the prognostic role of hepatitis B core antibody (HBcAb) on postoperative survival and recurrence of HCC.
A retrospective analysis of 3388 HBsAg positive (HBV-related) HCC patients treated by curative resection were performed. Multivariate analysis of independent prognostic factors was performed by Cox proportional hazards regression model.
HBcAb positivity was an independent prognostic factor for recurrence free survival (RFS) of HBV-related patients (p<0.001, HR: 1.723, 95% CI: 1.278-2.324), and the 1-, 3-, 5-year RFS rates for HBcAb negative patients were significantly better than those of HBcAb positive patients (92.5%, 72.1% and 65.9% vs 77.9%, 58.6% and 46.9%, p<0.001). HBcAb positive HCC was much bigger (p=0.006), more often involved with vascular invasion (p=0.001), elevated AFP (p=0.001) and ALT (p=0.046) levels, but less often involved with capsule formation (p=0.034). Besides vascular invasion, tumor size, interferon-α treatment, AFP and GGT level, HBcAb positivity was an independent prognostic factor for early intrahepatic recurrence of HBV-related patients (p=0.025, HR: 1.766, 95% CI: 1.073-2.907), and the majority of HBcAb positive recurrence were early recurrence while most of HBcAb negative recurrence were late recurrence (p=0.004).
Positive HBcAb may represent a more invasive phenotype of HBV-related HCC, and is associated with a higher risk of early intrahepatic recurrence and poorer RFS of HBV-related patients after curative resection. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
Liver international: official journal of the International Association for the Study of the Liver 06/2015; DOI:10.1111/liv.12898 · 4.85 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), the third leading cause of cancer-related death worldwide, is a disease of immune microenvironment. Chronic Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection, also an immune-related disease, is the major etiological factor for HCC especially in Asia. As an immune regulator, which has pleiotropic activities on T cells, nature killer cells and dendritic cells and so on, the efficacy of thymalfasin on HCC patients has been proven by several pilot studies as an adjuvant therapy. Combination of thymalfasin significantly improved survival and prolonged the time to tumor recurrence in patients who received transcatheter arterial chemoembolization after tumor resection. An improvement in patients' immunity has also been demonstrated. However, there is no large-scale randomized controlled study so far in resectable HCC patients. To confirm the role of thymalfasin adjuvant therapy in patients with HBV-related HCC after curative resection, a large-scale multicenter randomized controlled trial has been planned in China to investigate the effect of thymalfasin (1.6 mg twice a week for 12 months) on 2-year recurrence-free survival rate and tumor immune microenvironment. Here is the first announcement of the study protocol (ClinialTrials.gov Identifier: NCT02281266).
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To clarify the value of postoperative adjuvant transcatheter arterial chemoembolization (TACE) for resectable multiple hepatocellular carcinoma beyond the Milan criteria.
Patients with multiple HCC have been shown to have a worse survival after a partial hepatectomy (PH) because of the high incidence of intrahepatic tumor recurrence. Postoperative adjuvant TACE is an optional strategy for HCC patients with a high recurrence risk. Its effects and range of applications are debatable.
This retrospective study enrolled 135 HCC patients with resectable multiple hepatocellular carcinoma beyond the Milan criteria, and those patients underwent a hepatectomy with/without postoperative adjuvant TACE from Jan. 2004 to Dec. 2008. The patients were divided to the PH cohort or the PH+TACE cohort. The prognosis measures were the disease-free survival (DFS) and overall survival (OS) from the date of treatment. Univariate and multivariate analyses were used to assess the prognostic factors associated with DFS and OS, using the Cox proportional hazards model.
The 1-, 2-, and 5-year DFS and OS for the PH+TACE group differed significantly from the PH group (p = 0.004, p = 0.002, respectively). Multivariate analysis revealed that the significant independent risk factors associated with the DFS and OS were postoperative TACE treatment (p = 0.002, p = 0.001, respectively) and the number of tumors (p = 0.006, p = 0.037, respectively).
Our results show that postoperative adjuvant treatment resulted in delayed intrahepatic recurrence and better survival for patients with resectable multiple hepatocellular carcinoma beyond the Milan criteria. Postoperative adjuvant TACE should be regarded as a common strategy for patients with resectable multiple HCC beyond the Milan criteria.
American Journal of Cancer Research 01/2015; 5(1):450-7. · 4.17 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The loss of 5-hydroxymethylcytosine (5-hmC) has been identified as an epigenetic hallmark in several malignancies. However, its role in intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (ICC) is still unknown. Our study aims to investigate the level of 5-hmC in diagnosis and prognosis prediction of ICC. The 5-hmC levels were detected using dot blot, tissue microarray technique and immunohistochemical method, and the correlation between 5-hmC level and ICC clinicopathological parameters was analysed. Compared with matched liver tissues, most of ICC tissues presented with the loss of 5-hmC. Furthermore, the subgroups of cirrhotic and poor differentiation tissues showed the lowest level of 5-hmC. We found that 5-hmC level in non-elevated ICC patients was significantly related to lymph node metastasis and TNM stage and not related to vessel invasion, sex, age, HBV, cirrhosis or degree of differentiation. ICC patients with high TNM stage (stages III and IV) and lymph node metastases had significantly lower 5-hmC level than those with low TNM stage (stages I and II) and no lymph node metastases. Further analysis showed that low 5-hmC level is significantly correlated with worse overall survival (OS) and disease-free survival (DFS). Importantly, multivariate analysis indicated that 5-hmC level, tumour diameter, lymphatic metastasis and tumour differentiation could be used as independent prognostic factors for ICC. The loss of 5-hmC is implicated in the progression of ICC. Our results can contribute to the diagnostic ability and postoperative surveillance of ICC patients.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pyruvate kinase M2 (PKM2) is a member of the pyruvate kinase family. Recent work has defined the "non-metabolic" functions of PKM2. However, the role of PKM2 in HCC remains unclear. To investigate the role of PKM2 in tumor growth, invasion and the prognosis of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), PKM2 expression was measured in HCC cell lines and tissues using qRT-PCR, western blot, and immunofluorescence assays. In in vitro experiments, PKM2 was knocked down using a short hairpin RNA lentivirus vector, and tumor cell behavior and the downstream signaling pathways and chemokine were analyzed. For the analysis of in vivo tumor growth, intratumoral and peritumoral lymphocyte infiltration were examined in nude mice. The prognostic value of PKM2 was analyzed by immunohistochemistry in two cohorts including 721 HCC patients. Together, our data obtained from cell lines, tumorigenicity studies, and primary HCC samples illustrate an oncogenic role for PKM2 in tumors. Moreover, PKM2 may serve as a novel prognostic indicator for HCC patients after curative resection, targeted therapy aimed at PKM2 may represent an effective treatment approach for HCC.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Purpose:
Recurrence is a disastrous outcome in patients with hepatitis-related hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) who have undergone curative resection, and little is known about whether high levels of hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) increase the risk of HCC recurrence.
Patients and methods:
This retrospective study included 1,360 HBsAg-positive postoperative HCC patients with hepatitis B viral (HBV) DNA levels < 2000 IU/mL, including 298 patients in a training cohort and 1,062 patients in a validation cohort. The prognostic value of the HBsAg level was evaluated using Cox regression and Kaplan-Meier analyses.
We demonstrated that 1,000 IU/mL, but not 10 or 100 IU/mL, was a meaningful cutoff level for significantly discriminating these patients into an HBsAg(Low) group and an HBsAg(High) group based on correlations between the HBsAg level and liver cirrhosis (p = 0.028), tumor size (p = 0.039), and hepatitis B e antigen level (p < 0.001). The postoperative 1-, 3-, and 5-year overall survival (OS) rates of HCC patients in the HBsAg(Low) group were significantly higher than those of HCC patients in the HBsAg(High) group. Accordingly, the 5-year recurrence-free survival (RFS) rates of patients in the HBsAg(Low) group were markedly higher than those of HCC patients in the HBsAg(High) group. The HBsAg level was a prognostic indicator for OS (p = 0.014) and RFS (p = 0.01).
HBsAg level is correlated with more aggressive tumor behavior and serves as a prognostic indicator in patients with surgically resected HCC with low HBV load.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Purpose:
We developed a novel systemic immune-inflammation index (SII) based on lymphocyte, neutrophil, and platelet counts and explored its prognostic value in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).
The SII was developed based on a retrospective study of 133 patients with HCC undergoing resection between 2005 and 2006, and validated in a prospective study of 123 patients enrolled from 2010 to 2011. The circulating tumor cell (CTC) level in the validation cohort was measured using the CellSearch system. Prediction accuracy was evaluated with area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC).
An optimal cutoff point for the SII of 330 × 10(9) stratified the patients with HCC into high (≥330) and low SII (<330) groups in the training cohort. Univariate and multivariate analyses revealed the SII was an independent predictor for overall survival and relapse-free survival, and prognostic for patients with negative α-fetoprotein and Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer stage 0+A. The AUCs of the SII for survival and recurrence were higher than other conventional clinical indices. An SII ≥ 330 was significantly associated with vascular invasion, large tumors, and early recurrence. CTC levels were significantly higher in the SII ≥ 330 group (1.71 ± 0.34 vs. 4.37 ± 1.04, P = 0.029). In patients with detectable CTCs, those with SII ≥ 330 had higher recurrence rates and shorter survival time than patients with SII < 330.
The SII was a powerful prognostic indicator of poor outcome in patients with HCC and is a promising tool for HCC treatment strategy decisions. The dismal outcome in patients with high SII scores might be related to higher CTC levels.
Clinical Cancer Research 09/2014; 20(23). DOI:10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-14-0442 · 8.72 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Therapeutic intervention in neddylation pathway is an emerging area for cancer treatment. Herein, we evaluated the clinical relevance and therapeutic potential of targeting this pathway in intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (ICC). Immunohistochemistry of neddylation pathway components in a cohort of 322 cases showed that E1 (NAE1 and UBA3) and E2 (UBC12) enzymes, as well as global NEDD8 conjugation, were upregulated in over 2/3 of human ICC. Notably, NAE1 was identified as an independent prognosticator for postoperative recurrence (P=0.009) and a combination of NEDD8 and NAE1 provided a better power for predicting patient clinical outcomes. In vitro treatment with MLN4924, a small-molecule NEDD8-activating enzyme inhibitor, led to a dose-dependent decrease of viability in both established and primary cholangiocarcinoma cell lines. Additionally, MLN4924 exhibited at least additive effect when combined with cisplatin. By blocking cullins neddylation, MLN4924 inactivated Cullin-Ring ligase (CRL) and caused the accumulation of CRL substrates that triggered cell cycle arrest, senescence or apoptosis. Meanwhile, MLN4924 was well-tolerated and significantly inhibited tumor growth in xenograft model of cholangiocarcinoma. Taken together, our findings indicated that upregulated neddylation pathway was involved in ICC progression and interference in this pathway could be a promising target for ICC therapy.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background:
There have been progressive increases in both the incidence and death rates of female patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Our objective was to investigate the clinicopathologic characteristics and prognostic factors influencing the recurrence and survival of female patients with HCC.
We performed a retrospective analysis of 459 consecutive female and 2,936 male patients with HCC who underwent curative resection. Multivariate competing risks analyses with Bonferroni correction were used to evaluate independent prognostic factors.
Female patients had a better overall survival rate (P = .001) than male patients, but a survival benefit was only observed in female patients with tumor-node-metastasis stage I diseases compared with male patients of the same stage (P = .023). Female patients less often had multiple tumors, vascular invasion, and larger tumors. Although female patients had a greater prevalence of increased serum alpha-fetoprotein (AFP), AFP and tumor number had prognostic significance only for male but not for female patients. The incidence of recurrence in female patients was not different than male patients (P = .130). Vascular invasion and serum γ-glutamyl transpeptidase level were independent risk factors for early recurrence of female patients, whereas AFP and γ-glutamyl transpeptidase level were independent risk factors for late recurrence. After curative treatment for recurrence, female patients still had a better overall survival than male patients (P = .025).
Female patients had a less invasive tumor phenotype and different prognostic factors from male patients. AFP had no prognostic value in female patients. Estrogen may have a protective effect against early- but not late-stage HCC. Female patients have a better outcome after curative resection of recurrent HCC.
Surgery 07/2014; 156(3). DOI:10.1016/j.surg.2014.04.008 · 3.38 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background & Aims
Pathogenesis of intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (ICC), the second-most common hepatic cancer, is a poorly understood and its incidence is increasing worldwide. We searched for mutations in human ICC tumor samples and investigated how they affect ICC cell function.
We performed whole-exome sequencing of 7 paired ICCs and their surrounding, non-tumor tissues to detect somatic alterations. We then screened 124 pairs of ICC and non-tumor samples for these mutations, including 7 exomes. We compared mutations in PTPN3 with tumor recurrence in 124 patients, and PTPN3 expression levels with recurrence in 322 patients (the combination of both in 86 patients). The functional effects of PTPN3 variations were determined by RNA interference and transgenic expression in cholangiocarcinoma cell lines (RBE, HCCC-9810, and Huh28).
Based on exome sequencing, pathways that regulate protein phosphorylation were among the most frequently altered in ICC samples, and genes encoding protein tyrosine phosphatases (PTPs) were among the most frequently mutated. We identified mutations in 9 genes encoding PTPs in 4/7 ICC exomes. In the prevalence screen of 124 paired samples, 51.6% of ICCs contained somatic mutations in at least 1/9 PTP genes; 41.1% had mutations in PTPN3.Transgenic expression of PTPN3 in cell lines increased cell proliferation, colony formation, and migration. PTPN3L232R and PTPN3L384H, which were frequently detected in ICC samples, were found to be gain-of-function mutations; their expression in cell lines further increased cell proliferation, colony formation, and migration. ICC-associated variants of PTPN3 had altered phosphatase activity. Patients whose tumors contained activating mutations or higher levels of PTPN3 protein than non-tumor tissues had higher rates of disease recurrence than patients without.
Using whole-exome sequencing of ICC samples from patients, we found that more than 40% contain somatic mutations in PTPN3. Activating mutations in and high expression levels of PTPN3 were associated with tumor recurrence in patients.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Sirtuin 3 (Sirt3), one of the seven Sirtuins family members, plays critical roles in the progression of multiple cancer types. However, its role in the prognosis of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) has not yet been investigated systematically.
The correlation of Sirtuins expression with prognosis of HCC was determined by immunohistochemistry (IHC) in a large HCC patient cohort (n = 342). Expression of Sirt3 in tumoral and peritumoral tissues of HCC patients were further determined by western blotting (WB).
IHC and WB studies both showed a decreased expression of Sirt3 in tumoral tissues compared with peritumoral tissues (P = 0.003 for IHC, P = 0.0042 for WB). Decreased expression of Sirt3 in both tumoral and peritumoral tissues was associated with increased recurrence probability and decreased overall survival rate by univariate analyses (intratumoral Sirt3: P = 0.011 for TTR, P = 0.001 for OS; peritumoral Sirt3: P = 0.017 for TTR, P = 0.023 for OS), the prognostic value was strengthened by multivariate analyses (intratumoral Sirt3: P = 0.031 for TTR, P = 0.001 for OS; peritumoral Sirt3: P = 0.047 for TTR, P = 0.031 for OS). Intratumoral Sirt3 also showed a favorable prognostic value in patients with BCLC stage A (TTR, P = 0.011; OS, P < 0.001). In addition, we found that IHC studies of other sirtuin members showed a decreased expression of Sirt2, Sirt4 and Sirt5 and an increased expression of Sirt1, Sirt6 and Sirt7 in intratumoral tissues compared with peritumoral tissues. In contrast to Sirt3, other members did not showed a remarkable correlation with HCC prognosis.
Down-regulation of intratumoral and peritumoral Sirt3 were both associated with poor outcome in HCC, moreover, intratumoral Sirt3 was a favorable prognostic predictor in early stage patients.
BMC Cancer 04/2014; 14(1):297. DOI:10.1186/1471-2407-14-297 · 3.36 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The expression of 5-hydroxymethylcytosine (5-hmC) and isocitrate dehydrogenase 2 (IDH2) is frequently downregulated in numerous cancers. 5-hmC and IDH2 expression in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) has yet to be determined.
The immunohistochemical expression of 5-hmC and IDH2 were analyzed in tissue microarrays containing samples from 646 patients who had undergone hepatectomy for histologically proven HCC. The prognostic value of 5-hmC and IDH2 were evaluated by Cox regression and Kaplan-Meier analyses.
We discovered that low 5-hmC and IDH2 expression was associated with malignant behaviors. Low 5-hmC or IDH2 expression alone and combined 5-hmC and IDH2 expression were associated with lower overall survival (OS) rates and higher cumulative recurrence rates. Multivariate analysis indicated that 5-hmC or IDH2 and 5-hmC/IDH2 were independent prognostic indicators for OS and time to recurrence (TTR), which was confirmed in an independent validation cohort.
5-hmC and IDH2 correlate with less aggressive tumor behavior in HCC. When 5-hmC and IDH2 are considered together, they serve as a prognostic marker in patients with surgically resected HCCs.
Journal of Experimental & Clinical Cancer Research 04/2014; 33(1):32. DOI:10.1186/1756-9966-33-32 · 4.43 Impact Factor