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Br J Cancer. 2004 Jun 14;90(12):2349-55.

Genomic analysis reveals RhoC as a potential marker in hepatocellular carcinoma with poor prognosis.

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Department of Surgery, Xiangya Hospital, Central South University, 87 Xiangya road, Changsha, Hunan Province 410008, China.


Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is one of the most malignant human tumours because of its high incidence of metastasis. The mechanisms underlying the metastasis of HCC, however, remain poorly understood. In this study, we performed cDNA microarray analysis to profile gene expression patterns in two subtypes of HCC, solitary large HCC (SLHCC) and nodular HCC (NHCC), which differ significantly in the incidence of metastasis. Among 668 genes that were differentially expressed, we focused on RhoC, whose expression was significantly decreased in SLHCC compared to NHCC. The expression of RhoC in HCC and pericarcinomatous liver tissues (PCLT) was analysed at both the mRNA and protein levels by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and Western blotting. In addition, immunohistochemistry was also performed on 94 cases of HCC with follow-up information. Collectively, our data indicate that the expression of RhoC significantly increased in HCC compared to PCLT; extrahepatic metastatic lesions expressed significantly higher levels of RhoC than the corresponding intrahepatic HCC tissues. There is a highly significant correlation of the RhoC expression levels with tumour vein invasion, number of tumour nodes and the status of differentiation. Significantly, the HCC patients with RhoC-positive expression had shorter survival than those with RhoC-negative expression. Together, our findings suggest a strong correlation between the expression of RhoC and HCC metastasis, implicating RhoC as a potential prognosis marker and therapeutic target for HCC.

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