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Oncol Lett. 2012 Jan;3(1):39-44. Epub 2011 Oct 13.

NY-ESO-1 expression in hepatocellular carcinoma: A potential new marker for early recurrence after surgery.

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Tumor Biotherapy Ward of Beijing YouAn Hospital, Capital Medical University, Beijing 100069.


NY-ESO-1 belongs to the cancer testis antigens (CTA) family, and is identified in a variety of tumors. Certain studies have demonstrated that NY-ESO-1 predicts tumor recurrence and treatment response. No reports are currently available regarding the correlation between NY-ESO-1 and the recurrence of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) following surgery. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the association between NY-ESO-1 and relapse of HCC and to explore the possible mechanisms for this correlation. A total of 120 HCC patients were analyzed for the expression of NY-ESO-1 by immunohistochemistry (IHC). A stable NY-ESO-1 over-expressed HepG2 cell line (ESO-HepG2) was established to determine the biological effects of NY-ESO-1 on cell proliferation, cell cycle and migration by using the xCELLigence DP system, flow cytometry and xCELLigence SP system. NY-ESO-1 was positive in 28 of 120 (23.3%) HCC tumor tissues. NY-ESO-1 was not detectable in adjacent normal liver tissues. A close correlation was found between NY-ESO-1 expression and the recurrence of HCC following surgery (P=0.007). Kaplan-Meier analysis showed a shorter recurrence-free survival (RFS) for patients positive for NY-ESO-1 (log-rank test, P=0.003). The Cox regression model demonstrated that NY-ESO-1 expression was a significant independent predictor for the recurrence of HCC following curative surgery (P=0.022). Compared with HepG2 cells, ESO-HepG2 cells have increased migration but not proliferation ability. In conclusion, NY-ESO-1 expression is associated with worse HCC outcome following surgery, and the mechanism for this finding may be that NY-ESO-1 increases tumor cell migration.

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