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Digestion. 2013;87(3):176-81. doi: 10.1159/000348441. Epub 2013 Apr 27.

Expression of apoptosis- and vitamin D pathway-related genes in hepatocellular carcinoma.

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  • 1Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, University Hospital, University Duisburg-Essen, Germany.

Abstract

BACKGROUND/AIMS:

Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the sixth most common malignancy worldwide and therapeutic options are scarce. As they might represent future targets for cancer therapy, the expression of apoptosis-related genes in HCC is of particular interest. In this pilot study, we further examined apoptosis-related genes in human HCC and also focused on vitamin D signaling as this might be a regulator of HCC cell apoptosis.

METHODS:

We employed tumor tissue and serum samples from 62 HCC patients as well as 62 healthy controls for these studies. Tissue and serum specimens were analyzed by quantitative RT-PCR, immunohistochemistry and ELISA.

RESULTS:

In HCC patients the apoptosis marker M30 was found to be elevated and several pro-apoptotic (TRAIL, FasL and FasR) as well as anti-apoptotic genes (Mcl-1 and Bcl-2) were simultaneously upregulated in tumor tissue and especially tumor-surrounding tissue as compared to healthy control livers. Moreover, vitamin D serum levels were decreased in HCC patients whereas vitamin D receptor mRNA expression was increased in tumor tissue and tumor-surrounding tissue as compared to healthy livers.

CONCLUSIONS:

In human HCC, M30 serum levels are elevated indicating an increased cell turnover. Modulation of the vitamin D pathway might be a supportive, pro-apoptotic HCC therapy.

Copyright © 2013 S. Karger AG, Basel.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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