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PLoS One. 2012;7(8):e43147. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0043147. Epub 2012 Aug 13.

Dyskerin overexpression in human hepatocellular carcinoma is associated with advanced clinical stage and poor patient prognosis.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, Affiliated Tianyou Hospital, Wuhan University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Dyskerin (encoded by the DKC1 gene) is an essential nucleolar protein involved in cell proliferation, where it is required for the pseudo-uridylation of ribosomal RNA (rRNA) molecules and the stabilization of the telomerase RNA component. Dyskerin expression has been reported to predict poor survival in some cancer patients. The aim of the present study was to analyze the expression of dyskerin in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and to determine its correlation with clinicopathologic features, including the survival of patients with HCC.

METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:

Dyskerin protein expression was detected by immunohistochemistry in paraffin sections of 252 HCC cases and 80 noncancerous liver tissues. The correlation was analyzed between dyskerin expression levels and clinicopathologic variables and prognosis. Dyskerin protein was significantly overexpressed in HCC tissues when compared to noncancerous liver tissue. Dyskerin overexpression was positively correlated with the hepatitis B surface antigen status, serum alpha-fetoprotein, and advanced clinical stage in HCC patients. A survival analysis indicated that HCC patients with higher dyskerin expression had a significantly shorter overall survival and 5-year survival time when compared to those with low expression. A multivariate analysis suggested that dyskerin overexpression was an independent factor for prognosis (hazard risk, 2.912; P = 0.007). Expression of DKC1 mRNA was measured by quantitative RT-PCR in 80 HCC and 50 non-cancerous tissues. The relationship between DKC1, TERT, MKI67, and MYC mRNA expression in HCC tissues was also evaluated. DKC1 mRNA was significantly overexpressed in HCC tissues and showed a significant correlation with MKI67 and MYC mRNA but a weak correlation with TERT mRNA.

CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE:

Dyskerin overexpression in HCC patients was correlated with MYC and MKI67 expression and showed a possible involvement in the tumorigenic process. Dyskerin overexpression may be an unfavorable prognostic factor in patients with HCC.

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