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Ann Surg Oncol. 2012 May;19(5):1700-6. doi: 10.1245/s10434-011-1772-6. Epub 2011 May 17.

Clinicopathological significance of ZEB1 protein in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma.

Author information

1
Department of Hepato-Biliary-Pancreato-Vascular Surgery, First Affiliated Hospital of Xiamen University, Xiamen, China.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

ZEB1, a member of the ZFH family of proteins (zinc-finger E-box binding homeobox), plays a central role in epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) during carcinogenesis. In this study, we investigated the expression of ZEB1 in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and its clinical effects with underlying mechanisms.

METHODS:

Expression levels of ZEB1 were assessed by Western blot in 5 HCC cell lines and in paired cancerous and noncancerous tissues from 110 patients with HCC. Short-hairpin RNA (shRNA) interference for ZEB1 was performed in MHCC-97H cell line.

RESULTS:

ZEB1 protein was detected at a relatively high level in metastatic human HCC cell lines (MHCC-97L and MHCC-97H) when compared with that in nonmetastatic HCC cell lines (Hep3B, PLC and Huh-7). ZEB1 was expressed at high levels in 72 of 110 HCC patients (65.4%) and correlated with advanced TNM stage, tumor size >5 cm, intrahepatic metastasis, vascular invasion, and frequent early recurrence. The results of multivariate analysis revealed that ZEB1 high expression was a significant prognostic factor for poor overall and disease-free survivals. Silencing ZEB1 resulted in significant suppression of motility of MHCC-97H cell line, which was accompanied with increased expression of the epithelial marker E-cadherin and decreased expression of the mesenchymal markers N-cadherin and vimentin. Furthermore, silencing ZEB1 prevented the spread of intrahepatic metastasis and increased overall survival in mouse orthotopic tumor models.

CONCLUSIONS:

This study shows that ZEB1 high expression was correlated with HCC malignant progression and subsequent poor patient survival by induction of EMT changes.

PMID:
21584833
DOI:
10.1245/s10434-011-1772-6
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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