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J BUON. 2019 Mar-Apr;24(2):634-641.

Decreased expression of Beclin-1 in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma.

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Department of Liver Diseases, The Sixth People's Hospital of Qingdao, Qingdao, 266000, Shandong, China.



As a conserved cellular stress response, autophagy has recently been demonstrated to be involved in the pathogenesis of several human cancers. Beclin-1 is an important autophagy gene that is abnormally expressed in a variety of human cancers. In this study, we investigated the expression of Beclin-1 in Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC).


A total of 83 patients with primary HCC were enrolled in this study. The expression of Beclin-1, PCNA, NET-1, Bcl-2, and Bax was measured in tissue microarray, including 83 cases of HCC and 46 adjacent non-tumor liver tissues. The association of the expression of Beclin-1 with clinicopathological features as well as PCNA, NET-1, Bcl-2, and Bax were analyzed.


The positive rate of Beclin-1 in HCC tissues was significantly lower than that in adjacent tissues (x2 = 4.013, p=0.012). Beclin-1 expression in HCC tissues was negatively correlated with the expression of PCNA, NET-1, and anti-apoptotic protein Bcl-2, but positively correlated with pro-apoptotic protein Bax expression. Meanwhile, Beclin-1 expression was negatively correlated with HCC Edmondson grading (p=0.0058). Furthermore, Beclin-1 expression was significantly lower in HCC patients with liver cirrhosis (p=0.029) or vascular invasion (p=0.011) than those in HCC patients without cirrhosis or vascular invasion.


Decreased expression of Beclin-1 was observed in HCC tissues and negatively correlated with HCC Edmondson grading, suggesting that Beclin-1 might be a valuable prognostic indicator for HCC.

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