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Br J Cancer. 2010 May 11;102(10):1483-90. doi: 10.1038/sj.bjc.6605669. Epub 2010 Apr 20.

Insulin-like growth factor-binding protein 7 alters the sensitivity to interferon-based anticancer therapy in hepatocellular carcinoma cells.

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Department of Surgery, Graduate School of Medicine, Osaka University, Suita, Osaka 565-0871, Japan.



A striking efficiency of interferon (IFN)-based anticancer therapy for advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) has been reported. Because its clinical efficiency greatly depends on each patient's local response, prediction of local response is crucial.


Continuous exposure of IFN-alpha to parental PLC/PRF/5 cells (PLC-P) and a limiting dilution method resulted in the establishment of IFN-resistant cell clones (PLC-Rs). Microarray analyses of PLC-P and PLC-Rs identified insulin-like growth factor-binding protein 7 (IGFBP7) as one of the most significantly downregulated genes in PLC-Rs. Changes in anticancer effects of IFN-alpha were examined in HCC cells after genetic manipulation of IGFBP7 expression. The correlation between immunohistochemically determined IGFBP7 expression and the response to IFN-alpha/5-fluorouracil (5-FU) therapy was investigated in surgically resected HCC specimens.


PLC-R cells showed a remarkable downregulation of IGFBP7 and resistance to IFN-alpha, compared with PLC-P. Parental PLC/PRF/5 cells transfected with short hairpin RNA against IGFBP7 showed a significant resistance to IFN-alpha relative to control cells (IC(50) fold increase=14.38 times). Insulin-like growth factor-binding protein 7 transfection into PLC-R restored sensitivity to IFN-alpha. In resected specimens, IGFBP7 expression significantly correlated with the response to IFN-alpha/5-FU therapy.


IGFBP7 could be a useful predictor of the response to IFN-based therapy in advanced HCC.

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