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Hepatology. 2006 Oct;44(4):881-90.

Tensin2 variant 3 is associated with aggressive tumor behavior in human hepatocellular carcinoma.

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Department of Pathology, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong.


Tensins are a new family of proteins that act as an important link among extracellular matrix, actin cytoskeleton, and signal transduction and have been implicated in human cancers. Tensin2 was initially identified in a search for new tensin family members that share extensive sequence homology with tensin1. Tensin2 was highly expressed in liver tissues. A recent study reported that one of the splicing variants of tensin2, variant 3, promotes cell migration. In the present study, we aimed to elucidate the role of variant 3 in hepatocarcinogenesis by assessing the expression of variant 3 mRNA in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) tissue and ectopically expressing variant 3 in HCC cell lines. Analysis of variant 3 expression in human HCC tissue revealed it was overexpressed in 46% (23/50) of tumor tissues as compared with the corresponding nontumorous livers. High expression of variant 3 was significantly associated with venous invasion (P = .037), tumor microsatellite formation (P = .022), and tumor nonencapsulation (P = .049). Our ectopic expression study showed that variant 3 significantly promoted the cell growth and motility of HCC cells. The clonal transfectants of variant 3 were more closely packed and resulted in a higher saturation density than in the control vector transfectants. Variant 3 expression also enhanced the proliferation rate in culture and in vivo tumorigenicity in nude mice. In conclusion, we reveal a novel role for variant 3 in the progression of HCC and suggest the feasibility of elevated variant 3 expression as a tumor progression marker for HCC.

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