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Cancer. 2001 Jan 1;91(1):106-12.

Expression of c-Myc, c-Fos, and c-jun in hepatocellular carcinoma.

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Department of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, Queen Mary Hospital, Hong Kong, People's Republic of China.



Increased expression of the proto-oncogene c-myc is a common phenomenon in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The proto-oncogenes c-fos and c-jun are involved in cell cycle progression and cellular proliferation.


The objective of this study was to elucidate the mechanism of hepatocarcinogenesis with regard to the expressions of c-myc, c-fos, and c-jun. One hundred fifty biopsied HCC specimens were stained immunohistochemically for the above phenotypic markers both in tumor tissue and in adjacent nontumor tissue.


Although the expression of c-myc was high (74%) in tumor tissue, it was significantly less compared with the expression in nontumor tissue (100%; P = 0.0002). The expression of c-myc was inversely proportional to the grade of differentiation in tumor tissue (P = 0.0108; correlation coefficient [r] = -0.244); that is, tissue with poorer histologic differentiation had a lower level of c-myc expression. There were inverse associations between the expression of c-myc and the expression of mutated p53 (P = 0.0017; r = -0.285) as well as the expression of Ki67 (P = 0.057; r = -0.147). There was significantly high expression of c-fos in tumor tissue compared with the expression in nontumor tissue (91% vs. 0%; P < 0.0001). Both the tumor tissue and the nontumor tissue had high levels of expression of c-jun (96.53% and 100%, respectively). There was a trend toward a positive association between the expression of c-fos and the expression of c-jun in tumor tissue (P = 0.07; r = 0.162).


Because c-myc is a known inducer of wild type p53, decreased c-myc expression may lead to uncontrolled cell growth because of the lack of p53 expression that normally induces apoptosis. The coordinated expression of c-fos and c-jun in HCC may reflect the coordinated tumor cell cycle of progression and proliferation; however, future studies are required to elucidate this possibility.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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