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Cancer Manag Res. 2018 Sep 27;10:3985-3993. doi: 10.2147/CMAR.S176268. eCollection 2018.

Identification of WDR12 as a novel oncogene involved in hepatocellular carcinoma propagation.

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Taishan Scholar Immunology Program, School of Basic Medical Sciences, Binzhou Medical University, Yantai 264003, Shandong, China.
The Key Laboratory of Traditional Chinese Medicine Prescription Effect and Clinical Evaluation of State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine, School of Pharmacy, Binzhou Medical University, Yantai 264003, Shandong, China.
Medicine and Pharmacy Research Center, Binzhou Medical University, Yantai 264003, Shandong, China,



Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is one of the most common malignant cancer worldwide. Importantly, the precise mechanisms causing HCC pathogenicity are still unknown. The identification of potential oncogenes plays significant roles in finding novel therapeutic targets for human HCC.


WDR12 (WD repeat protein 12), a member of WD repeats family, plays crucial roles in the ribosome biogenesis pathway. However, Whether WDR12 contributes to HCC development remains unknown. The objective of this study was to elucidate the role of WDR12 in HCC development.


The expression level of WDR12 in HCC tissues and adjacent non-tumor tissues were detected form Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) database. The expression level of WDR12 in HCC cell lines were examined by RT-PCR and western blot. Kaplan-Meier analysis were used to analyze the effect of WDR12 level on overall and disease-free survival of HCC patients. To examine whether WDR12 supports development of HCC, we inhibited expression of WDR12 by using an shRNA-encoding lentivirus system. Effects of WDR12 knockdown were evaluated on cell-growth, cell-proliferation and cell-migration. The mechanisms involved in HCC cells growth, proliferation and migration were analyzed by western blot assay.


In silico analysis of HCC data sets showed that elevated expression of WDR12 correlated with high serum AFP level, high vascular invasion, high histologic grade and high TNM stage in HCC patients. Furthermore, up-regulated expression of WDR12 significantly correlated with the short overall survival and recurrence time of HCC patients. The shRNA-mediated knockdown of WDR12 expression resulted in reduced proliferation and migration of HepG2 and Huh-7 cells. Notably, inhibition of WDR12 resulted in decreased phosphorylation of AKT, mTOR and S6K1.


Our study indicates that WDR12 contributes to HCC propagation, and indicates that suppression of WDR12 may be a potential strategy for human HCC treatment.


WD-repeat proteins; hepatocellular carcinoma; migration; proliferation

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