Heng Zhao

Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, Shanghai Shi, China

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Publications (2)9.7 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Although Dickkopf-1 (DKK1) is known to be a negative regulator of the Wnt/β-catenin pathway, it has been recently found to be upregulated in cancers. We investigated the clinical and prognostic significance of both serum and transcript DKK1 and its functional roles in human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). We evaluated the expression level of DKK1 in both tissue and serum samples from patients with HCC using GeneChip microarray and real-time-quantitative PCR and sandwich ELISA system respectively. The clinicopathological and prognostic significance of serum and tissue DKK1 levels was examined. Functional characterization of DKK1 with regard to cell migration, invasion and tumour growth was performed. Both DKK1 transcript and serum protein were upregulated in a stepwise manner in human HCCs. Its transcript levels were associated with more aggressive tumour behaviour, in terms of venous invasion (P = 0.003), advanced tumour stage (P = 0.003). DKK1 transcript correlated with shorter overall (P = 0.006) and disease-free survival (P = 0.012), and higher serum DKK1 levels correlated with shorter disease-free survival (P = 0.046). Knockdown of DKK1 significantly reduced both migratory and invasive abilities of HCC cells, whereas overexpression of DKK1 enhanced the tumour formation efficiency and tumour growth in vivo. Serum and tissue DKK1 levels increased in a stepwise manner in multistep hepatocarcinogenesis and had prognostic significance. DKK1 plays a functional role in cell migration, invasion and tumour growth.
    No preview · Article · Aug 2011 · Liver international: official journal of the International Association for the Study of the Liver
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    ABSTRACT: Delta-like 1 (DLK1), a fetal liver stem cell marker, is strongly expressed in human and rodent fetal liver, but not in adult liver. Notably, dysregulation of DLK1 was found in some human hepatocellular carcinomas (HCC). However, the effect of DLK1 on HCC cell growth and its underlying mechanism are still largely unknown. Aims: To (i) assess the expression of DLK1 in human HCC and adjacent liver tissues and human HCC cell lines; (ii) evaluate the effect of DLK1 on SMMC-7721, Huh7 HCC cell growth in vitro and in vivo; and (iii) explore the potential mechanism of DLK1 that regulates HCC cell growth. The expression of DLK1 mRNA and protein were detected using reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction and immunohistochemistry respectively. The effect of DLK1 on the proliferation of SMMC-7721 and Huh7 cells was evaluated by colony formation and tumour xenograft assay. The differential expression profiles of DLK1-overexpressing SMMC-7721 cells and control cells were compared using HG-U133 Plus 2 Genechip. The cell cycle distribution of DLK1 forced expressing cells was comparatively analysed. Upregulation of DLK1 was observed in 41 of 57 (71.9%) human HCC samples. Ectopic expression of DLK1 promoted cell proliferation, colony formation and tumorigenicity in SMMC-7721 and Huh7 cells. DLK1 upregulated the expression of interferon-inducible protein 16 (IFI16) and its promoter transcriptional activity, decreased p21waf1/cip1 and induced cell cycle acceleration. However, silencing of IFI16 using small interfering RNA abrogated DLK1-induced proliferation in these cells. IFI16 may be an essential downstream target of DLK1 in HCC cells and required for DLK1-induced cell proliferation.
    No preview · Article · Mar 2010 · Liver international: official journal of the International Association for the Study of the Liver

Publication Stats

41 Citations
9.70 Total Impact Points


  • 2010-2011
    • Shanghai Jiao Tong University
      • State Key Laboratory of Oncogenes and Related Genes
      Shanghai, Shanghai Shi, China