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Sci Rep. 2016 Sep 8;6:30238. doi: 10.1038/srep30238.

YAP Subcellular Localization and Hippo Pathway Transcriptome Analysis in Pediatric Hepatocellular Carcinoma.

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Department of Surgery, Boston Children's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115 USA.
MassGeneral Institute for Neurodegenerative Disease, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02129-4404 USA.
Department of Pathology, Boston Children's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115 USA.


Pediatric hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a rare tumor which is associated with an extremely high mortality rate due to lack of effective chemotherapy. Recently, the Hippo pathway and its transcriptional co-activator Yes-associated protein (YAP) have been shown to play a role in hepatocyte proliferation and development of HCC in animal models. Therefore, we sought to examine the activity of YAP and the expression of Hippo pathway components in tumor and non-neoplastic liver tissue from 7 pediatric patients with moderately differentiated HCC. None of the patients had underlying cirrhosis or viral hepatitis, which is commonly seen in adults with HCC. This highlights a major difference in the pathogenesis of HCC between children and adults. We found a statistically significant increase in YAP nuclear localization in 100% of tumors. YAP target gene (CCNE1, CTGF, Cyr61) mRNA expression was also increased in the tumors that had the most significant increase in YAP nuclear localization. Based on Ki67 co-localization studies YAP nuclear localization was not simply a marker of proliferation. Our results demonstrate a clear increase in YAP activity in moderately differentiated pediatric HCC, providing evidence that it may play an important role in tumor survival and propagation.

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