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J Cancer. 2017 Sep 2;8(15):3028-3036. doi: 10.7150/jca.20467. eCollection 2017.

MZF-1/Elk-1/PKCα is Associated with Poor Prognosis in Patients with Hepatocellular Carcinoma.

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Bachelor Program of Senior Services, Southern Taiwan University of Science and Technology, Tainan, Taiwan.
Institute of Biochemistry and Biotechnology, Medical College, Chung-Shan Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan.
Clinical Laboratory, Chung Shan Medical University Hospital, Taichung, Taiwan.
Department Physical Therapy, School of Medical and Health Sciences, Fooyin University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan.
Institute of Nutrition, College of Biopharmaceutical and Food Sciences, China Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan.
Department of Medical Applied Chemistry, College of Health Care and Management, Chung Shan Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan.
Department of Medical Research, Tungs' Taichung MetroHarbor Hospital, Taichung, Taiwan.
Center for Molecular Medicine, China Medical University Hospital, Taichung, Taiwan.
Graduate Institute of Biomedical Sciences, China Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan.


Background: Protein kinase C alpha (PKCα) is a key signaling molecule in human cancer development. As a therapeutic strategy, targeting PKCα is difficult because the molecule is ubiquitously expressed in non-malignant cells. PKCα is regulated by the cooperative interaction of the transcription factors myeloid zinc finger 1 (MZF-1) and Ets-like protein-1 (Elk-1) in human cancer cells. Methods: By conducting tissue array analysis, herein, we determined the protein expression of MZF-1/Elk-1/PKCα in various cancers. Results: The data show that the expression of MZF-1/Elk-1 is correlated with that of PKCα in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), but not in bladder and lung cancers. In addition, the PKCα down-regulation by shRNA Elk-1 was only observed in the HCC SK-Hep-1 cells. Blocking the interaction between MZF-1 and Elk-1 through the transfection of their binding domain MZF-160-72 decreased PKCα expression. This step ultimately depressed the epithelial-mesenchymal transition potential of the HCC cells. Conclusion: These findings could be used to develop an alternative therapeutic strategy against patients with the PKCα-derived HCC.


Elk-1; HCC.; MZF-1; PKCα

Conflict of interest statement

Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interest exists.

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