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Int J Clin Exp Pathol. 2014 Aug 15;7(9):6125-32. eCollection 2014.

Downregulation of P-cadherin expression in hepatocellular carcinoma induces tumorigenicity.

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Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, University Hospital Regensburg Germany.
Department of Internal Medicine I, University Hospital Regensburg Germany.
Tissue Bank O.B. HTCR and Center for Liver Cell Research, Department of General, Visceral, Transplantation, Vascular and Thoracic Surgery, Grosshadern Hospital, Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich Germany;
Institute of Pathology, University Erlangen-Nuremberg Germany.


P-cadherin is a major contributor to cell-cell adhesion in epithelial tissues, playing pivotal roles in important morphogenetic and differentiation processes and in maintaining tissue integrity and homeostasis. Alterations of P-cadherin expression have been observed during the progression of several carcinomas where it appears to act as tumor suppressive or oncogenic in a context-dependent manner. Here, we found a significant downregulation of P-cadherin in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cell lines and tissues compared to primary human hepatocytes and non-malignant liver tissues. Combined immunohistochemical analysis of a tissue microarray containing matched pairs of HCC tissue and corresponding non-tumorous liver tissue of 69 patients confirmed reduced P-cadherin expression in more than half of the cases. In 35 human HCC tissues, the P-cadherin immunosignal was completely lost which correlated with tumor staging and proliferation. Also in vitro, P-cadherin suppression in HCC cells via siRNA induced proliferation compared to cells transfected with control-siRNA. In summary, downregulation of P-cadherin expression appears to induce tumorigenicity in HCC. Therefore, P-cadherin expression may serve as a prognostic marker and therapeutic target of this highly aggressive tumor.


P-cadherin; hepatocellular carcinoma; proliferation; tumor staging

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