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World J Gastroenterol. 2004 Sep 15;10(18):2735-9.

ADAM17 mRNA expression and pathological features of hepatocellular carcinoma.

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Liver Cancer Laboratory, Department of General Surgery, Xiangya Hospital, Central South University, Changsha 410008, Hunan Province, China.



To study the expression of a disintegrin and metalloproteinase 17 (ADAM17) mRNA in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and to evaluate the relationship between ADAM17 mRNA expression and clinicopathological features of HCC.


Hepatocellular carcinomas (HCC) from 31 cases were divided into small HCC (SHCC), nodular HCC (NHCC) and solitary large HCC (SLHCC) according to tumor diameter and the number of nodes. ADAM17 mRNA expressions were compared among those groups by means of semi-quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). The relationship between ADAM17 mRNA expression level and clinicopathological features of HCC was evaluated.


NHCC had lower differentiation and was more frequently of microvascular invasion (10/12) than SHCC (3/11) and SLHCC (3/8) (P<0.05), but no statistical difference was observed between SHCC and SLHCC comparing their clinicopathological features. ADAM17 mRNA expression was detected in 77.4% (24/31) of HCC tissues and was significantly higher than that in paired non-cancerous liver tissues in which only 35.5% (11/31) of the samples were detected of the expression (P<0.05). The expression of ADAM17 mRNA was much higher in NHCC than in SHCC and SLHCC (P<0.05), while no significant difference was discovered between SHCC and SLHCC. The quantities of ADAM17 mRNA were significantly higher in poorly differentiated HCC than in well or moderately differentiated HCC, but no statistical difference was found concerning liver cirrhosis, tumor capsule formation or microvascular invasion of the cancer.


The increased expression of ADAM17 may play a key role in the development of HCC. The expression levels of ADAM17 mRNA varied among different pathological types of HCC. Lower mRNA expression of ADAM17 mRNA in SLHCC may be associated with the better molecular pathological features of SLHCC.

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