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Cancer Lett. 2003 Sep 25;199(2):201-8.

GSK-3beta phosphorylation and alteration of beta-catenin in hepatocellular carcinoma.

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Immunology Unit, Department of Clinical Laboratory Sciences, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Serdang, Selangor 43400, Malaysia.


The aim of this study is to investigate the potential correlation between the expression of phosphorylated glycogen synthase kinase-3beta (phospho-GSK-3beta) and beta-catenin, and the mutations of beta-catenin gene at the consensus GSK-3beta phosphorylation site. The reason for this approach is to gain a better understanding of the molecular mechanisms of hepatocarcinogenesis in Malaysia. The expression of phospho-GSK-3beta and beta-catenin by immunohistochemistry and the mutations of beta-catenin were studied in 23 hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and surrounding tissues. Overexpression of phospho-GSK-3beta and beta-catenin was found in 12/23 (52.2%) and 13/23 (56.5%) in HCC tissues, 6/23 (26.1%) and 9/23 (39.1%) in surrounding tissues, respectively. Overexpression of beta-catenin in HCC tissues compared to the surrounding liver tissue was found to be higher in HCC tissues (p=0.015). In addition, we found that the expression of phospho-GSK-3beta was related with the accumulation of beta-catenin in surrounding tissues (p<0.05). The expression of phospho-GSK-3beta and its association with the development of HCC is reported for the first time. In addition, this is the first report from Malaysia which shows that there are no mutations at the GSK-3beta consensus phosphorylation sites on beta-catenin gene in all 23 paired HCC and surrounding tissues. This result differed from HCC in geographical areas with high aflatoxin exposure.

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