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BMC Med Genomics. 2019 Dec 20;12(Suppl 8):175. doi: 10.1186/s12920-019-0635-z.

Differential alternative splicing regulation among hepatocellular carcinoma with different risk factors.

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Department of Biomedical Informatics, University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City, UT, USA.
Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Internal Medicine, Inha University School of Medicine, Incheon, South Korea.
Pharmacy program, Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Worcester, MA, USA.
Department of Biomedical Informatics, University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City, UT, USA.
Huntsman Cancer Institute, University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City, UT, USA.



Hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis C virus (HCV), and alcohol consumption are predominant causes of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). However, the molecular mechanisms underlying how differently these causes are implicated in HCC development are not fully understood. Therefore, we investigated differential alternative splicing (AS) regulation among HCC patients with these risk factors.


We conducted a genome-wide survey of AS events associated with HCCs among HBV (n = 95), HCV (n = 47), or alcohol (n = 76) using RNA-sequencing data obtained from The Cancer Genome Atlas.


In three group comparisons of HBV vs. HCV, HBV vs. alcohol, and HCV vs. alcohol for RNA seq (ΔPSI> 0.05, FDR < 0.05), 133, 93, and 29 differential AS events (143 genes) were identified, respectively. Of 143 AS genes, eight and one gene were alternatively spliced specific to HBV and HCV, respectively. Through functional analysis over the canonical pathways and gene ontologies, we identified significantly enriched pathways in 143 AS genes including immune system, mRNA splicing-major pathway, and nonsense-mediated decay, which may be important to carcinogenesis in HCC risk factors. Among eight genes with HBV-specific splicing events, HLA-A, HLA-C, and IP6K2 exhibited more differential expression of AS events (ΔPSI> 0.1). Intron retention of HLA-A was observed more frequently in HBV-associated HCC than HCV- or alcohol-associated HCC, and intron retention of HLA-C showed vice versa. Exon 3 (based on ENST00000432678) of IP6K2 was less skipped in HBV-associated in HCC compared to HCV- or alcohol-associated HCC.


AS may play an important role in regulating transcription differences implicated in HBV-, HCV-, and alcohol-related HCC development.


Alcohol; Alternative splicing, hepatitis B virus; Hepatitis C virus; Hepatocellular carcinoma; RNA-sequencing

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